Weekend on Lockdown Numero Uno

Toilet roll situation: Same loo roll. Still 19 in stock. Considering creating ‘loo roll’ graph on my bathroom wall to track loo roll progression, but not sure am quite bored enough yet. Maybe next weekend.

Pasta stocks: Finished lasagne. Felt good about making a dent on the pasta suppliers, then dropped a packet of lentils on my head and discovered another packet of spaghetti, so… 

Mum’s top tip of the day: This is quite a niche tip, but nevertheless some stellar advice, I think. After that moment on the phone the other week when I realised we wouldn’t be having our annual easter egg hunt, my very sweet and very thoughtful parents had a massive box of Thorntons Chocolates & Easter eggs delivered to my house. I have so much chocolate that I have actually bought some scales, so I can make the educated decision about whether to keep eating it (before I used the measurement of ‘how tight my jeans were’ but, come on, who’s going to wear jeans when you’re literally banned from seeing anyone? No one). 

Anyway, my mother’s advice this time was around how I could still recreate the Easter Egg Hunt experience whilst on lockdown, by:

  1. Drinking a lot of wine
  2. Hiding the chocolate around my house
  3. Going to bed
  4. Wake up the next day having forgotten where the easter eggs are, and then compete with myself to find them.

Not only is that sheer genius, but it also means that her advice essentially amounts to the fact that I should get black out drunk on my own. 

(Given that this is the third piece of advice my mother has given me that has involved drinking, I think it’s fair to say we have sourced the origin of my subpar relationship with alcohol, so this has also saved me some money in therapy, which is great news all round.)

General:

Weekend starts at approximately twenty past five on Friday, because weekends are one of those things which are defined by working patterns. Am slightly daunted about the prospect of the weekend, because that is a loooooong stretch of time without structure. Work makes things feel a bit normal. This is probably slightly melodramatic because it’s not unheard for me to relish in spending a whole weekend in my house, or at least a whole Saturday. 

Have also come to a startling revelation that it is entirely possible (and in fact probable) to overdose on people when you are not, in fact, allowed to see people. Have spent so much time on the phone, or video chat, or sending messages on Whatsapp, that I am completely exhausted. Find phone calls and video calling much to be much more draining on the introvert stakes that, you know, actually just being in the same room as another person and having a chat, which means I’m reaching my limit earlier than normal. 

Intended to speak to several people, but all I actually want to do is have a glass of wine, watch a film under a blanket and sleep for hours and hours and hours. This is good, because these are all things I am actually permitted to do.

However, first port of call is my Allowed Exercise Outing. 

Am trying to turn this into a Profound Spiritual Experience rather than, you know, the one time that I’m allowed to leave my house and might see a real life human, and not just one through a screen (have actually been enjoying my walks, but… we are on week one and I have kind of run out of different directions to go in the park, so we’ll see how long I actually keep up enjoying it). In order to assist in my PROFOUND SPIRITUAL JOURNEY, I have been listening to my Audio Bible in the Year while walking.

Today I am listening to Leviticus.

It is about defiling skin diseases.

It is graphic and mildly disgusting. 

It is… long. 

Walk goes something like this.WhatsApp Image 2020-03-27 at 18.49.59

Me: Gosh, look how lovely the outside is! Am a changed woman! Will have converted to fully fledged Outdoorsy Type ™ by end of Coronavirus.

Audiobible: if there is a white swelling in the skin that has turned the hair white and there is raw flesh in the swelling, it is a chronic skin disease – – 

Me:  …

Audiobible: The priest is to examine the spot on the skin then —

Me: Look!! A bird!! I love nature!! The world is beautiful! I will revel in the beauty of the world!!

Audiobible: When someone has a burn on their skin and a reddish-white or white spot appears in the raw flesh of the burn

Me: It’s…. Nature is so very, uh, green and –

Audiobible: If a man or woman has a sore on their head or chin, the priest is to examine the sore, and — 

Me: *Checks how many seconds are left in this chapter of Leviticus*

Me: *debates sacking off bible in a year*

Me: *grits teeth*

Audiobible:  Anyone with such a defiling disease must wear torn clothes, let their hair be unkempt, cover the lower part of their face and cry out, ‘Unclean! Unclean!’ As long as they have the disease they remain unclean. They must live alone; they must live outside the camp.

Me: Oh, wait. This is weirdly relatable. I, too, must live outside the camp and am duty bound to live alone.

Older person: *walks towards me on the path , looking like they’re going to get closer than 2ms*

Me: *tears clothes*

Me: UNCLEAN!! UNCLEAN!!!

(That last part may or may not have actually happened).

So there you have it, folks. Biblical permission to wear torn clothes and let your hair be unclean, which means it’s totally fine to wear my McCain ‘chips’ jumper (I bought it because I found out that they were selling the jumper that guy in the chips advert wore in the advert, and I was like ‘who would buy that??’ And then I realised that I  would buy that) even though it’s full of holes and I don’t have to wash my hair until all of this blows over. Another money saver, that. 

Head back home after graphic images of hairs-in-boils have faded from mind, slightly, and watch ‘Mamma Mia: Here we go again’ which was part of the ‘Apocalypse Survival Kit’ that friend bought round back when friends were allowed to drop things round (aka. Two weeks ago). Find the film weirdly emotional. Build Harry Potter Lego Hagrid’s Hut. Drink wine. Play Ticket to Ride with family. Lose.

Saturday happens. 

Housemates asks me what I’ve been up to today at around 4pm, and honestly have no idea. I know that I definitely drank coffee and debated whether running out of milk was a sufficient reason for going to the shop (I didn’t; I do have cashew nut milk. It’s Exactly The Same in the same way that talking to people only via the telephone is Exactly The Same as seeing them in person. Still, if you ignore the way it congeals in hot drinks it’s basically fine, and I didn’t used to have real milk at home until housemate moved in. This was, of course, because I spent the day drinking work’s milk in my coffee rather than being without milk), but the rest of the day is a restful but uneventful blank.

Definitely spent a lot of time in my conservatory. This is mostly because the longue was taken over by lego a few days ago and my dining chairs aren’t very comfortable. 

I think I did some painting and had a lie in. Received aforementioned delivery of chocolate and also the additional Harry Potter lego that I probably didn’t need to purchase. 

I tried to buy fence paint online. Could not buy fence paint. 

All in all, the COVID lockdown version of a very busy day.

Honestly, I really need the rest. Feel unreasonably tired and not sure that can blame the walks for exhaustion in bones (although during Saturday’s walk it actually rained, so I think the distress of it all probably did award me some Serious Tired Points). It’s probably a mixture of all the talking to people and the emotional whiplash and the excitement of my Lego delivery, which I’ll grant you was a highlight. 

Family suggests I put new lego set into dishwasher to disinfect it (it’s second hand; I ain’t made of money) which sounds like a bad idea all round, so instead I just wipe it down and wash my hands while singing ‘Happy Birthday’ twice. 

Think how my niece would like this, because she’s been declaring it’s people’s birthdays for a while now because she wants to eat cake. I think this is good logical reasoning, but this strategic thinking has not yet been rewarded by cake which, you know, I don’t think is going to encourage her budding career as a cake sales strategist.

Saturday day evening brings remote pub quiz with beloved besties!!! This is, of course, Exactly The Same ™ as going to a real pub quiz. It’s for Juno women’s aid and we all come into it with the same quasi morality that it’s okay to message everyone we know, but it’s not okay to google the answers. The logic is that there’s no limit on team size, so we have expanded team to include:

  • Southern beloved bestie’s girlfriend
  • Southern beloved bestie’s parents 
  • Sheffield beloved bestie’s mum
  • Everyone in my family WhatsApp group.

They are now proud(ish) members of the Menstrual Cycles (next week Sheffield beloved bestie’s mother is going to officially join us; her caveat is that we have to rename ourselves the Menstrual cyclists).

My dad gives us one of the answers and then Mum states that dad Googled it. Wordlessly, we remove answer from our scribbled sheet of answers. We actually get a shout out for this when results are being read, which is a bizarre form of rewarding our questionable moral code. We come second. 

All in all, it’s actually a good Saturday.

Am late “for church” on Sunday, even though it’s a live stream and I don’t have to go anywhere or get dressed. It’s sort of, great, though, and I eat lunch on a video call to one of my friends feeling positive and light. This is, of course Exactly The Same ™ as the usual routine of actually going to church and all getting lunch together afterwards. Exactly. The. Same. Thing ™. 

It’s okay. It’ll get old, but it’s fine. Have downloaded free online settlers of catan and that Houseparties App. Still have a few Lego kits to built (new one was AWESOME!! So cool. No pieces missing, and there are these secret hidden treasure chests and keys and this dial that you can spin and it moves loads of stuff. No regrets). Made a lovely dal for tea that doesn’t involve that many ‘fresh’ ingredients, which should help put off going to the shop for longer. #StayAtHome

We do a remote book club at 3pm about a book that some my church gals read (Hinds Feet on High Places). This is, of course, Exactly The Same ™ as our original plan of cake and tea and hanging out; my cashew nut tea isn’t even that bad and, even though I don’t have cake, this is only because I forgot to get some that Housemate messaged me to is in the freezer and needs eating out of the freezer. Also, if we weren’t doing it from our respective homes during to all being ceremonially unclean, it wouldn’t be okay for my clothes to be torn and my hair to be unkempt, and that’s a real timer saver.

(Now have much more time to… sit and contemplate existence). 

Go for my walk, have bath with Christmas pudding themed bath bomb (bulk buy post Christmas) , decided to save Dal because I walked past chicken shop on my way home from walk and really wanted fried chicken ( am a vegetarian, so instead had chips and quorn chicken nuggets from my freezer; Exactly The Same ™ and also, another freezer meal, #StayAtHome ), and then play Cards Against Humanity online over video chat with the church lot until bedtime.

This is Exactly The Same ™ as doing this in person, except:

  • online version is SUPER confused by eight people playing and a bit laggy, leading to fifty percent of the conversation being WHO MOVED THAT CARD and WHO STOLE MY CARD. We eventually enact strict rules about who is  allowed to move cards at any given time. Personally, don’t find that super strict rules is necessarily the best way to maximise the fun, but it was necessary
  • Eight people on video chat is certifiable chaos and if it wasn’t all very funny it would probably be very stressful
  • We’ve never actually played cards against humanity in real life.

All in all, my weekend was genuinely fun and actually relaxing, and , if my vague memories of Saturday morning are actually correct, I did some life admin. I guess all in all this amounts to Exactly the Same ™ as what I usually look for in a weekend, so… we’ll take it.

I’ll leave you with my experiences on my Sunday walk. 

Me: am an inspiration, going for a walk when it is has been hailing this very morn! Need to work out who will play me in the film about my transformational journey to Outdoorsy Type ™ ! Love nature. Love being so cold that my legs are numb. Love walking.

Audio bible: When any man has an unusual bodily discharge…

Me: I. Wow. This is actually worse than the skin diseases.

Audio bible: If the man with the discharge spits on anyone who is clean, they must wash their clothes and bathe with water…

Me: well yes, I suppose that you would want to wash your clothes and bathe in water if…

Audio bible: anyone the man with a discharge touches without rinsing his hands with water must wash their clothes and bathe with water, and they will be unclean till evening.

Me: wash your damn hands people! Topical.

Audio bible: When a man is cleansed from his discharge, he is to count off seven days for his ceremonial cleansing…

Me: right, Helen, this is god’s word and this is a Profound Spiritual Experience. It’s okay that you can’t feel your face. It’s a Beautiful Thing that you’ve done this part of the walk every day for the past week. Revel in nature!! Admire the squirrels)! Be grateful and inspired!! Love the trees! Be transformed by the transformative nature of spending quality time with the beauty of the earth (especially as quality time with actual people is banned). 

Audio bible: when a man has an emission of semen… 

Me: …

Me: ffs.

Top five things about lockdown:

  1. Redid budget as new council tax bill arrived, and was able to take out money for: travel costs, going out for coffee, going out for drinks, meals out, forgetting to bring lunch to work fund, meals out and leisure. This is, of course, a “Good Thing.” Have used excess funds to increase weekly wine budget (and take out budget). 
  2. Profoundly unaffected by the clocks going back/ forward. So unaffected that I can’t remember which way they went. What does it matter? Time is meaningless, anyway.
  3. Deep emotional connection formed with plants. So worried for their welfare when it started hailing that I bought all my plant friends who live in pots inside to keep em safe and we hung out in my conservatory together and that was nice. 
  4. Watched that video about the guy thanking the baked potato approximately seventy seven times and will now be able to sing ‘thank you baked potato’ every time I eat a baked potato 
  5. Everyone’s increasing levels of insanity are interesting to watch, in a car crash sort of way 

Worst 5 things about lockdown:

  1. I write dystopian novels and while this is prime material, feels callous to use this to feed fiction writing. Maybe  I’ll give it a year or something. 
  2. The best way to make sure I have all zee things I need for the week is to make a fully comprehensive food plan and, basically, I don’t want to. I’m not very good at them because I’m very easily swayed by food envy and have no self control (eg. Making dal and then eating fake chicken instead). Every time my next door neighbour cooks curry, it smells so good I order a take out. 
  3. Realisation that lateness is so engrained in who I am as a person that it actually doesn’t matter if planned social activity just involves turning on computer.  This weekend I was late for: pub quiz, church, book club and cards against humanity. Absolutely zero ways I can justify this. 
  4. Was struck during church about the gritty reality that this disease is going to kill a lot of people and decimate the livelihoods of thousands of businesses owners who are never going to recover. Haven’t been watching the news much, so forced myself to read some after to face up the fact that this thing is big, and serious, and scary, and the fact that I’m safe in my house pales into insignificance compared to the pain of families who will lose someone and people in unhappy and dangerous homes and people on the breadline who were struggling anyway. Feel sad and powerless and worried about people that I care about.
  5. Can’t by flour in the supermarket 

(I’m going to be honest with you here, folks, it’s not really Exactly The Same).

Lockdown: Day 1-3 of ERROR! Unknown Range.

WhatsApp Image 2020-03-26 at 18.38.19
Look! A park! Allowed Exercise!

Toilet roll situation: new loo roll. Still 19 in stock. Feel secure. 

Pasta stocks: actually ate some pasta! Now feel morally better about owning so much, even though this is just apparently how much pasta I own, rather than stockpiling (except all that stuff I swapped for coffee and kidney beans). As such, now own:

  • A unopened packet of impracticality large pasta
  • ½ pack of date lasagne sheets from the Foodbank
  • One packet of spaghetti 
  • One open packet of macaroni 
  • That other pasta that housemates says she owns if I run out.

(Am I going crazy, or does that not feel like much pasta? Feel uneasy. Wish I hadn’t counted)

Oh, plus ¾ of a cooked roast veg and lentil lasagne.

Human contact: 

Day 1 (Tuesday)

  • worky things
  • Video Lunch with work colleague. Usually, we go eat Thai food every Friday at this restaurant. They know our orders and our table and always say ‘see you next week!’ at the end of lunch. Went day before my self isolation started and we did say this would probably be the last for a while. Highlight during this lunch was when he says “It must be dreadful to be a drug dealer or house breaker at this time. Will nobody think of the drug dealers?” Had not thought of this previously. Feel moved and humbled.
  • Video prayer type meeting with small group. Lead this group with housemate, and felt like given I was shook,  others might be and want to pray
  • Video call with beloved besties, where we played Psych and chatted and I may have told one of their parents’ beloved besties’ nickname, which may include reference to beloved besties dating preferences. Whoops. 
  • Phone call with dad & sister (and sort of my mum, but it was clear we were interrupting her TV watching) while playing ticket to ride

In the end, this was 6pm-11:30pm worth of phone calls. 

Day 2 (Wednesday)

  • worky things 
  • Neighbour walked past house on her allowed outing. She called me just before she walked past and then I came and sat on my front step and she waved and I got to see her 1 year old son, and I did not get to give 1 year old son cuddles, due to remaining the government recommended distance apart. Seeing babies and not being able to give them hugs is V. Hard. 
  • Socially distant bible study! We were supposed a study the next chapter of a book that we’ve doing for a while, but the commentary I read was entitled “serving god in the last days: attitudes for end-times believers”. Ultimately decided that this was not appropriate and changed direction mid session (a good learning point here: always plan the day before!!) 

Day 3: (Thursday)

  • Remote lunch with work friend. V. Lovely, but have concluded eating tacos on a video call is a bad call. I mean, not with friend, but it’s not a good remote first date food, if we do this for long enough that people decide to have remote first dates 
  • Called school friend on my Allowed Walk and I showed her the park that has now become my Walk Place (turns out all anyone had to do to make me exercise was say that I could only do it once a day; my innate British desire to get the best value out of a deal has meant that I have cashed in daily)
  • Organised family call! Scotland sister, “Awesome sister”, grandma, parents and niece!!!! Grandma now video chats. Niece is 2.5 years old and shows us the pictures she’s drawing on the camera and tells us about putting seasoning for dinner in the pan. Niece is so cute I sort of want to cry, because I also cannot hug her.

(Although to be fair, Niece is quite vocal about her physical boundaries, so I don’t get to hug her that much anyway)

Mum’s top tip of the day: told mum about mum’s top tip for the day. Asked her to give me some advice for my blog and she was v. Confused, and later mildly disgruntled and not forthcoming with advice. 

The next day I got this, which has left me mildly scarred for life, but I suppose means we’re even again. 

IMG_1502

General:

Mixed reviews for lockdown so far.

Keep having really lovely moments, then moments of piercing sadness when I realise things that I’m not going to have for a long time.

Like, seeing beloved besties.

We usually meet up once a month, which I think is pretty damn good given general adult friendships and the fact that we’re all living in different parts of the country. We’d intended to meet next weekend with all of us, then the three of us go away the following week (Sheffield beloved bestie’s girlfriend had uni essay so she couldn’t come with).We knew holiday wasn’t going to happen, but we thought that maybe we’d just semi-self-isolate some place together for the week we all have off work, and play games and hang out anyway. Sheffield beloved bestie had started stockpiling sangria (correct type of panic buying, I think). 

The three of us have gone away once or twice a year since our second year of university (six years?? Is that right?) and I know this makes me V. V. Privileged, but please never think I am not aware of this. FULLY understand that my middle class existence of lockdown is an entirely different and more internal focused hot bed of pressure, but not financial. Am INCREDIBLY blessed to have secure income and enough wider security that if it all went tits up I could call my parents and they could help me. The lack of fear is the real definition of social class, for me , and I would hope to never walk into a room without an awareness of how my privileges and advantages has led me to a place of living confident that I can be self sufficient.

That being said, I really flipping love our holidays. We read books and swap books and drink cocktails and make iced coffees and do puzzles and watch tv in the evenings all hauled up under blankets. We play card games and sit on the beach and I burn like a crisp, despite commitment to factor fifty, so each holiday they take pictures of my sunburns for prosperity. They have like six different pictures of my burnt arse. 

Anyway, the point is, am completely gutted about not seeing beloved besties. Thinking about not seeing them for months makes my soul ache. 

I get migraines and I have done for a very long time. I’ve just lived with it due to my mild phobia of going to the doctors and because I kinda figured they couldn’t do a whole lot about them. In our November meet up, I had a SUPER BAD migraine. Wound up throwing up five or six times and spent about two hours of the day out of bed. Was staying at Sheffield beloved bestie and girlfriend’s place and sharing a bed with other beloved bestie, and at the point we were all going to bed I just cried, and part of it was because my head hurt so much every time I moved my head that I kinda wanted to cut the damn thing off my neck, but also because I’d lost the whole Saturday that we were gonna spend together. I cried into one of her pillows (while keeping head v. Still) and decided that I was going to freaking well deal with these migraines, because they were not going to cost me my monthly weekend with beloved besties again.

(Booked first available doctors appointment online the following week, which was in eight weeks time. I think I could have got an appointment earlier if I had called them. Obviously I did not do this because phones.) 

There have been some more tears since BJs announcement. I am a cryer, anyway. I once cried at a Tescos ‘food love stories’ advert. I’ve cried at the song ‘Rockabye’ and I have cried at that bit in Angus Thongs and Perfect Snogging (this reference is depressingly retro) where she turns up at the party dressed as an olive and then runs away. 

Most awkward tear-fest of the past few days was in work check-in, a new daily occurrence where each member of the team talks about how they’re doing. Well, I thought I was fine, and then people starting talking, and I Was Not Fine. Cue tears. Cue trying to suppress tears. Cue internal battle as to whether to leave virtual meeting for a moment. Cue my turn to share how I’m doing. 

I say hi. This means that everyone now gets a view of my face on their laptop. My voice cracks. I see myself on the screen. I do not know what to say. Am now crying on video chat in front of all my work colleagues. Panic. Commit to PEAK DRAMATIC EXIT, and shut laptop and leave the room. Now start to sob like teenagers do in films when they’ve been grounded: throw myself into my bed, hug pillow, and sob. Can hear meeting going on in background because shutting laptop doesn’t actually remove me from meeting. Head of Department awkwardly moves the conversation on. They pray for me (we’re a Christian bunch, we pray for everyone, not just people who run out of virtual meetings to cry, although you should always pray for people who run out of work meetings to cry) while I sob on my bed. Am still half wearing my PJs and have a meeting with all of them immediately after check in.

Compose self. Make coffee. Get properly dressed and put on lipstick. Seamlessly join meeting like nothing has ever happened. 

As soon as I start work, feel completely fine again. 

That evening, really enjoyed praying with my church group and then had the best time with the besties from afar, and it all felt like it could be a fun kind of challenge again. 

Plus, we have another distanced meet up scheduled for this weekend!!

Got to that point during Tuesday evening when I started losing a little of my tunnel vision and really feeling, instead of knowing, that this isn’t an IDEAL situation for anyone. There was a few moments before that when I wanted to scream BUT I’M ON MY OWN. YOU’VE GOT YOUR SPOUSE OR YOUR KIDS OR YOUR PARENTS OR YOUR HOUSEMATES AND ALL IVE GOT ARE MY PLANTS AND I’M PROBABLY GOING TO KILL THEM ALL SOON. 

But, I am an introvert, and I think I’m going to do a lot better with this than I would with a fictional other half and kids, and I don’t really think it’s worse to be on your own, it’s just different.  Then I started thinking about friends who just about get on with their housemates, and friends who love their housemates but, you know, appreciate the evenings they go out A LOT, and I started thinking about those poor extroverted outdoorsy types, and I more or less got round to being back to ‘this time is a gift. Freaking well use it’ when I had a sudden moment of like is my mother okay???

Parents visit my sisters a lot. Not me so much, but that’s because I haven’t produced a grandchild / don’t need any decorating doing. I live close enough to “Awesome Sister” that I nip across when parents are visiting them, and that’s… not going to happen for a while. Started to become concerned that the fact that we didn’t play a family Ticket to Ride Game last night was symbolic of my mother not being okay. 

Was on a group call with “Awesome Sister” and dad, so asked how mum was. He called her into the room by saying we were on the phone and she didn’t come for twenty minutes because she was watching a TV program about funerals.

My mother is fine.

I, too, will be fine.

Really, we need to be thinking about the drug dealers and the house breakers.

And —— I found this shed key!!!

Woke up Wednesday, looked at the pile of PJs on my bedroom floor and had a moment of extreme clarity: that I needed to get over myself and do my bloody laundry.

This was very grounding and helpful. 

And, shed key was in the little pot hanging off the washing line with the pegs in! Shed key has been missing since my birthday party (September) and now I have an almost memory of someone telling me they put the key there, but I could just be filling in a blank. It hasn’t really been warm enough to dry clothes outside since then, though, so poor keys have mostly been chilling with my pegs in a puddle of rainwater for 6 months.

(Thus the rust conversation, thus my mother’s tips about purchasing lubricants. Hope I never have to write that sentence ever again). 

Also, may have tried to break into shed using a screwdriver before using the screwdriver to unscrew the hinges on the door, so there was a hairy moment when I thought I’d broken the lock, but no!

Have access to my shed!! This would never have happened without lockdown!! 

(Until I did laundry that I hung on the line, at least). 

Also, there is a 83 acre park opposite my house, that I have been in twice before lockdown. 

It is B e A u t I F u L 

So, new routine is my Allowed Walk after work. Still spending breaks painting and drinking nice, slow, ground coffees in my conservatory. Still starting most days at 9:30 and eating breakfast. Probably feel more relaxed than I ever have in my life (if you ignore the crippling fear that I’ll never be lawfully allowed to hug anyone else again) and am looking forward to spending the weekend reading a book in my garden. 

Spent an embarrassing amount of money on more Harry Potter Lego. Don’t really regret it.

Top 5 things about lockdown:

  1. I have spent so much time in my conservatory that I legitimately have freckles, which is the very pale person’s equivalent of a tan. I’ve never really understood the fascination with tanning because it is an unachievable end goal for me (well, there was that one time I accidentally got after sun with fake tan in and had been dutifully fake tanning my burnt arse and the back of my knees for a full week before I realised what was going on. I thought it was some weird super problematic serious burn and all my skin was about to fall off, but instead I just had v. Strange streaky orange patches. Until, as is the way with bad sunburn, my skin actually did fall off. Anyway), but it seems like the acquisition of skin pigmentation is usually celebrated, so let’s go for it 
  2. Feel better about spending money on things like Lego or potential coffee subscription, as saving money on things like going out for coffee and actually having fun 
  3. Parents ordered me and “awesome sister” a crate of tiny wines, so now I can feel mildly judged by my tiny wine bottles when I drink two in one night
  4. Have been an advocate of drinking alone for many years, but feels more socially acceptable now my aloneness is government mandated
  5. It’s really loud when they test the fire alarms at work. I am not legally obligated to test my smoke detector every Monday, so won’t have that awful moment when you jump out of your skin then quickly realise that they do this every week.

Worst 5 things about lockdown: 

  1. Every year my mum organises an Easter egg hunt for us, and I am the undisputed champion of the past decade and a bit. Last year I was sure that I was going to go up against my niece to protect my title, but she’s so small and cute that in the end we teamed up. This was at my house and probably the moment that I actually won her over. She actually likes me now and it’s all because of that Easter egg hunt. Cannot think of a way to do this virtually. We have done this for at least the past twenty years, and I am sad. Don’t care that am in mid twenties, those Easter eggs are the best. 
  2. Low key feel like this is a ploy to get everyone to leave the house once a day to exercise, and I have fallen for it 
  3. The ‘Psych! Outwit your friends app’ keeps crashing because so many people are trying to play it 
  4. Crippling insecurity about what counts as ‘essential’. Tomorrow I’m going to run out of milk and will only own courgettes and cheese (and everything in my freezer and cupboard stuff, such as half a ton of rice), is this an essential trip? Do I need to wait until I have spent the last four days eating only housemate’s frozen gluten free bread with garlic salt on?  Unused to critically assessing supermarket purchases. 
  5. Been embracing JOMO for a long time and it’s not as subversive and good at feeding sense of ‘I know who I am, and it’s a person who likes to stay in and build Lego’ superiority when everyone is being forced to do it. Maybe I would have chosen this life anyway, huh? You ever think about that??

Need to put the other twelve screws back in the shed door not that removing hinges isn’t my access route. 

Maybe next week. I’m swamped right now. 

 

Lockdown: Day 0 of however long it takes

Toilet roll situation: Just started the new roll. Did a stock take and turns out I only have 20 left, not 36. Looks like I am currently using just over 1 roll per week. This felt weirdly more than normal, but then I realised that I usually spend 50+ hours a week not in my home. Still, should have enough loo roll to get me through at least another 4 months. 

Pasta stocks: Considering eating pasta tomorrow just so I can have less pasta. 

Human contact: 

Just had a video call with three good friends from work, for our new weekly pub quiz! This involves us video calling from our respective abodes and pretending that talking online is the same as actually getting to socialise together.

Some good aspects to COVID, here, in that the last four times we’ve tried to all meet up to properly hang out (not see each other briefly at work), we have cancelled due to conflicting schedules. Well, goodbye schedules! We are each going to do a round each week. Unfortunately, we only got through ‘General Knowledge’ (spoiler: none of us have any general knowledge. Friend-who-traded-me-pasta-for-kidney-beans decimated me & friend-who-got-the-cough-the-day-before-me by getting 50% correct), before we had an interlude to watch BJs (Boris Johnson’s) address. We did place bets on the content of the speech, but even though my predictions of ‘he’s going to say loads of people are going to die’ and ‘will actually define what non-essential contact is, like only going to the shop once a week’ was correct, it sort of killed the pub quiz vibe, so we stopped playing after that.

Also, Whatsapp, but no other human contact. Was feeling really crappy today after bad night’s sleep, so old feelings of hatred/anxiety over phone calls and video chats re-emerged. Want to hand in millenial badge and fully embrace the phone call, but this is too ingrained in my psyche!

For example, booked the meal out with Yorkshire-Sister a long time ago (the one that might have given her coronavirus) but for some reason I couldn’t pay the initial fee bit while booking it, but they wanted me to CALL THEM to pay! CALL THEM???? So, I didn’t. Intended to do it in the future. They called me and I didn’t pick up because I didn’t recognise the number and I am not certifably insane (for me the only valid reason to answer a phone call from an UNKNOWN NUMBER???). They left me a voicemail asking me to give them a ring back and pay, but I needed to work myself up for it. They rang me again. This time I did recognise the number, but I also really wasn’t in the right headspace for a phone call. The right headspace is like the top ninety-ninth percentile of my general wellbeing. If I aint there, I aint talking on the phone.

(There are exceptions. These are, largely, my parents or members of my family. Will accept phone calls from very good friends if they have told me that they are going to ring me in advance, or in absolute crisis situations. Or, you know, self isolation). 

This cycle repeated around four times. Then they emailed me and said that they’d cancelled my booking because I hadn’t paid. Emailed them for their BACS details and had sorted it out and paid within twenty minutes — no phone call necessary. If they’d just done that in the place, we’d have been golden.  

It’s not just restaurants. Director pulled me into a meeting with another company a few months back and I’d sent him a text to ask him what he wanted from me/ to prepare etc. He called me back instantly and I panicked and didn’t answer, despite the fact that:

  1. I knew what he was calling about
  2. What he was calling about was directly beneficial to me
  3. Actually wanted to speak to him about the issue at hand
  4. I know him and we’ve worked together enough that a phone call REALLY should be fine. 

Had to sheepishly call back a few minutes later, after I had sternly told myself the above four points.

I have the kind of relationship with phone calls where I considered it to be extreme character development that once upon a time I called Dominos because I accidentally ordered my pizza with extra mushrooms rather than no mushrooms. This was not character development: this was hardcore hatred of mushrooms. 

(This is all kind of ironic and a bit weird considering I spent, like, three or so years working as an over-the-phone debt counsellor, where my job was literally to talk to people on the phone, and I really loved that job. Anyway).

Point is, didn’t really feel up to talking to people much over the phone, so spent a lot of the time texting etc instead. 

Mum’s top tip of the day:

“Autumn is just going to have to adjust like everyone else.”

Autumn is my sister’s cat. As ever, my mother is not wrong.

General:

Usually aim for levity with these things, because I find humour and laughing at myself to be the way to enjoy small things about the tsunami of chaos that is life, but, to be honest, I’m not really feeling very light hearted at the moment. Nothing BJ said in his address felt surprising or unreasonable, but yet still somehow feels like a shock. 

Obviously, it’s the right thing to do. But. 

The raw, gritty truth of it is that I am good at being on my own, but I don’t know if I am that good at being on my own and it’s scary and it makes the forthcoming loneliness feel like a physical pressure. 

Housemate is probably not going to be coming home any time soon for various reasons (none of which are to do with #HerbGate and, Grace, if you’re reading, I did buy some more turmeric. Should be some by the time you get home).  This means that I will be spending lockdown in the house on my own.

And, you know, I like living alone. I’ve lived alone for the better part of the last three years and wasn’t really in the market for changing that. Housemate was supposed to stay for a few weeks but it turns out that I love having her here. She’s funny and fun and she organised the tupperware so that it’s all arranged by size with matching lids and we play Mariokart and avoid each other when either of us are Hangry. I’d hoped that, when lockdown happened, we could do it together and probably drive each other slightly crazy, but also have dance parties and watch Derry Girls and invent games like ‘Whose Neck is it Anyway’ (you have to…. Guess who it is by the picture of their neck. It’s pretty self explanatory. Also, housemate is VERY good at it). Plus, there are other great things about there being other human beings that you’re allowed to be physically close to, like hugs. 

Grace is a fan of surprise-hug-attacks. By which I mean I am sat on the sofa minding my own business and she launches herself at me and yells ‘hug attack’ and, about twenty five percent of the time, accidentally punches me in the face in the process.

I already really really want an accidental-punch-in-the-face-hug right now.

(The funny thing is, if she did this in public right now this would probably surmount to chemical warfare) 

It will be okay. Like Autumn the cat, we will have to learn to adjust.

Was chatting to friend earlier. She asked if I wanted to come stay because she knows I’m on my own and they have a spare room. This is really lovely of her, but doesn’t feel like the right move. We chatted some more about being scared and a bit gutted,  as both of us are single and won’t be able to see our family for a while. It’s a different kind of experience to being on lockdown with your parents or your spouse and/or your kids which, don’t get me wrong, is hard freaking work, and in a some ways I probably am glad that I’m doing it solo…. but. In a load of other ways I am not. We were both having a little ( a lot of) a cry, and she said that she was blowing her nose on her socks, because it was the nearest thing to hand.

I don’t know, folks. The lengths people will go to to preserve toilet roll these days

Today’s top 5 benefits of Lockdown

  1. I’d completely slacked on my responsibility of providing my quiz round on ‘Sports’ so was trying to do this while BJ was talking. Had volunteered to do sports because I thought it was funny because I know nothing about sports, but was finding creating quizzes difficult because… I know nothing about sports . Now none of us are allowed to visit our family, everyone forgot about my crap quiz. Harrah!
  2. Unclear yet whether the foodbank I volunteer at counts as ‘essential’. Feels like it does, as more people than ever need food parcels with all the big scary changes that are happening and I think it’s the only one in my city staying open. This means that I get to feel like a heroine from a YA novel, risking severe penalties (such as fines) to date sort tinned all-day-breakfast-in-a-tin and throw out the large quantities of out of date food that people donate so they feel less bad about throwing it away (look, we can’t give it out your tinned borlloti beans you bought a decade ago. Throw em away). Work for a Debt Counselling charity, so in a technical sense my day job is also to fight against social injustice and what not, but feels a bit more Robin Hood if I have to sneak out of my house to do it.
  3. Always in when you have deliveries, so don’t ever have to have that moment where you take your food box out of your bin because it has been declared as today’s ‘safe space’
  4. Exercise has officially been limited to once per day! Am going to count mine as pull ups. AKA. Pulling my fat ass out of bed in the morning.
  5. Appears that pandemics are the kind of thing that stop politicians arguing among themselves to work out an actual answer, given that Labour have supported the new measures. Would have been nice if they could have done that for Brexit, but….

 

Today’s top 5 pitfalls of lockdown

  1. No end point, which is scary. Only have enough toilet paper for 4 months, after all. What do I do then?? Use Housemate’s toilet roll? 
  2. Was trying to cure phone addiction but feels more challenging when I need it to contact literally anyone. Have redownloaded Facebook app on my phone. Don’t really want this, but given my checking once a day on a browser had changed to having a browser open constantly, it seemed somewhat pointless not to have the app.
  3. If I kill my plants, definitely cannot use ‘was too busy’ as an excuse.
  4. Generally have to face up to truth if which things I say ‘I am too busy to do’ I am just actually too damn lazy to do; suspect list will be long. Not sure am ready to face up to reality of my own state of CBA. 
  5. When this first started kicking off, this really inspired me to play Theme Hospital. After thoroughly being told off by BJ, am now feeling stirring of guilt over my initial gut reaction. Also, in Theme Hospital I’m super good at containing epidemics before the health minister finds out and fines me and in real life it all seems a Lot More Complicated. ‘Warning! Epidemic alert!’ ‘We apologize for the amount of litter.’ ‘Incoming patients with slack tongue.’ ‘Hospital administrator is cheating!’ What a game. (And I cheat on the political basis that I don’t believe hospitals should be for profit, ergo their financial criteria is against my political beliefs). 

That being said, both Lego & Garden look great.

“Autumn is just going to have to adjust like everyone else.”