Corona Diaries Part 2


Phew!

We’re all still breathing, kicking, bickering and plundering toilet roll. Touch wood. I’m not attempting to jinx anything said while slapping my own head ferociously.
My husband doesn’t believe in jinxes. There’s no word for jinxing in German. So he believes it doesn’t exist. But we know. That is, the rest of the family and I. And we are quite accustomed to smacking our own heads if tables/bookshelves/garden fences are unavailable. This does make us appear slightly stranger to our German acquaintances.

Some of you have asked me how I am and I admit, it’s a difficult question to answer.
Mainly because my mood swings have become, quite frankly, erratic. But from talking to other people and watching the news, I don’t think I’m alone in that.

Some days, I am the great achiever. In actual jobs. Not just in online shopping. Other days, the minutes fade into hours and I can’t remember what I’ve actually done. Other than eaten a bit of chocolate, watched a show and washed my hands.

It took me some time, but I came to the realisation that my self-worth is closely linked with my ability and actual activity in doing stuff for others and if I don’t manage to achieve that, my self-worth buggers off to the bottom of a cliff somewhere.
I’ve not managed to completely sort that out yet. Let’s call it a work in progress.

Way back in March I stopped working, as many did. I buckled down with homemade soups, crossed my fingers and my toes and sometimes held my breath. Our battle plan was how to avoid coming into contact with the virus and how not to contaminate anyone else, should we get it. We avoided people. We remained in our own little bubble and used more soap in a few short months than we would normally use in a decade. We consumed the news. We became experts in reading and interpreting graphs and statistics. We gardened. We missed our children and our friends. I missed work. My husband, on the other hand, revelled in his new found home office and worked even more than he normally does. I attempted, at random times, during the day and during the night, to find a possible delivery slot for our supermarket shopping. I read. I discovered new shows. I nodded off during the day and sometimes found that I couldn’t sleep at night. I got the scissors out and chopped away at my daughter’s hair and it turned out not too badly.

So far, touch wood, no one I know personally has been really sick. There were a few precarious moments, like when my son needed to be tested. At first, I wasn’t too bothered as I was really sure that he was suffering from pretty bad hay fever and I thought that the doctor’s were being rightly cautious. But while we were driving to the GP’s outdoor testing centre in the carpark, my son nonchalantly admitted that the wife of a colleague had tested positive and the colleague had been sent home. My son had forgotten to mention it previously. My brain imploded, right there and then. But after a few seconds I managed to pick up all the pieces and glue them back together while simultaneously driving the car. And in front of the doctor we appeared relaxed and unvexed.
The test was negative. Hay fever was the cause of his itchy eyes, sneezing and loss of smell. Wine was drunk in celebratory merriment.

PHEW!!


My life has changed beyond all recognition. I have discovered my own green thumb giving life to extraordinary vegetation and colonies in the garden. I say extraordinary because the potato plants that thrived in the high bed turned out to be rape seed (how does that even happen?) and the broccoli and cauliflower shot but never produced any broccoli or cauliflowers. The lettuce did it’s best to take over the garden. The coriander flourished while the chives and the rocket just decided not to grow. Not only that, the whole garden seemed to develop some kind of mass growing competitiveness. I keep having to cut back the wisteria as it’s continually venturing into the neighbour’s garden as soon as I turn my back. The neighbour can’t stand us already, without our vines invading his territory! The apple tree, despite being considerably hacked back by me at the beginning of spring, has sprung so many apples it’s in danger of toppling over. A pretty weed seeded itself next to the rose arch, it seemed so innocent at first… Now its thick wooden stem has massacred the clematis and we have no idea how we’ll detach it from the archway. Maybe a chainsaw… Then there’s the ants. I found these ‘stones’ in the high bed. Nope. Not stones. Ant nests!!!

Lack of human contact has seen me talking to the dog even more, who often appears confused by my tales. I also try to banter with the plants. But unlike the dog, they rarely respond.

I find myself even more agitated by the neighbours. It’s one thing not to speak, even when we’re in a crisis. But one neighbour got chickens. Live chickens!! And my problem is, I can hear them, but I can’t see them. I drag the dog all over my suburb in pursuit of visiting any old farmyard animal and now I have chickens opposite my house!! Only being able to hear them is deplorable.

I have discovered I am still terrible at sewing. I have made mask upon mask. Each one takes hours because I spend so much time fixing them. And they have so much stitching they look more like thread than actual material. Now, as my daughter has returned to school, they are being thoroughly tested by the washing machine. And they are not always passing muster.

My health so far, has been unaffected by Covid itself, but because I’m not constantly coming into contact with germs, my asthma has greatly improved while my Crohn has been exacerbated considerably. So much so, that it’s become difficult to leave the proximity of the house most of the time or think about starting to work again. But I will see a new doctor next week. So hopefully we’ll find a way forward.

How are you doing?

41 Replies to “Corona Diaries Part 2”

  1. Really funny! in the midst of all of the uncertainty, it’s nice to laugh! I have become a hermit anyway, so this wasn’t all that bad for me. I love that the wild animals now have more freedom in their habitats we destroyed. With the exception of the mask, which I wear all the time when out in public, all is serene here in SoCa.

    1. I love that too. And the air feels a lot cleaner. People here are cycling a lot and using their cars less, which has been a great side effect. In Germany the government are using the opportunity to try and turn things around and push heavily in a greener direction.

      1. I have to say, I am so impressed with the German attitude to the environment. There’s still a way to go but at least we are on the right track. I am originally from for the UK and I really notice the difference. But I think things are improving (slowly) there too.
        Currently the government is using the current crisis to try to turn things around massively and turn industry (especially the car industry) to be more environmentally friendly. They say that Covid has provided a unique opportunity for change. The plan is to invest heavily in green technology and jobs. They say many people have lost jobs, let’s retrain them and direct them towards a greener culture. They are also massively encouraging the use of electric and hybrid cars with large cash bonuses available for those who buy an electric car instead of a diesel or petrol one.

        I hope, with all my heart that Trump will be replaced in November. He is surely the worst president ever.

      2. I hope so too! He is one of the worst humans EVER, I’m sure the whole world is laughing at him and scared of his insanity, too. If only we had someone like Merkel, things would be so much different here. My daughter in law is from the UK too.

      3. He is! I keep thinking that he couldn’t possibly be reelected but who knows in the current climate? The British elected Boris!!
        Merkel will be leaving soon. So watch this space. The Greens are fairly popular at the moment, so I hope it goes in that direction. I think a lot of the balance here is because we always have a coalition, which means the parties end up having to work together.
        My current favourite is Jacinda Ardern. If she led the world, it would be a much, much better place.

      4. It seems that all the countries who have women leaders do better in every aspect. Oh well. Maybe one day here, right? PS What do you think about Meg/Harry? My DIL and I discuss them a lot. I think she’s beginning to agree with me that Meghan is a narcissist and poor Harry/Archie are just pawns in her game.

      5. It does appear so (women leaders), although I wasn’t too keen on Mrs Thatcher. Or Theresa May, come to think of it!

        I think Meghan got a really rough deal from the British press. And I think her family treated her badly. What kind of family sells their story to the press? I haven’t seen her in an interview or anything, so I don’t know what kind of person she is, but after Archie was born I did wonder if she maybe had at least a touch of postnatal depression.
        I guess it’s really difficult joining the British royal family. They have basically no privacy whatsoever and I guess, even if you come from a famous background, that must be hard.
        I quite like the queen and I think the public announcement of the decision to leave must have been pretty tough for her. But maybe they just couldn’t see any other way out. I think it’s great they came to some kind of amicable decision. I think it’s right that they had to go completely, and are not half in, half out and that they now have to fund themselves. I think the death of Harry’s mum must have had such a lasting effect on him, so I really hope that he finds happiness and inner peace.

      6. Well, maybe it’s the new breed of female leaders? I don’t know except I always choose a woman doc over a man because I find them less dictatorial and open to discussion. Regarding Meghan, I think she knew exactly what kind of family she was marrying into, and ignored it to live out her fairytale but ask me, not all fairytales have happy endings. And I believe it’s mostly Americans who sell their stories to the tabloids, some Americans have no class (naff as my DIL would say.) I don’t see how Harry could be happy in LA. He needs to be with family and esp his grandma.

      7. There are definitely a few really good female leaders out there at the moment!
        I think there’s quite a large difference between cultures as to how men and women behave also. I noticed a definite shift when I migrated here from the UK, that although there’s still not equality, things go in a more balanced direction. Especially in my generation and younger, some of the older men are still pretty bossy!! I have found some female (doctor’s and otherwise) to be quite uncaring – which shocked me a bit. And in my generation (and older) I have noticed there are some women who just seem to ignore other women and be highly focused on men, which I have found a very strange phenomenon. For instance, I was recently out walking with a male friend and a woman walked passed, she blanked me but said hello to my friend. Or my husband and I chat to a stranger and I notice she hangs off his every word, but I am completely invisible. Very odd!! I would say it’s only something I’ve seen in older women. But that’s only one type, and she isn’t a common type. I mention it because I don’t know it from the UK at all.
        I can completely understand you not going to dictatorial doctor’s. A doctor needs to listen to what you have to say, and if they march on regardless, how can they fix the problem?
        Did Meghan sell her story to the tabloids? I am sorry, I don’t really know that much about Meghan, so it’s difficult for me to comment. Raking around in my memory, I thought that Harry spent quite a lot of time in the US, though I have no idea if it was Los Angeles or not. I guess he’s an adult, and has had a good education, and has to make his own decisions. If it doesn’t work, then I’d guess they’d divorce at some point.

      8. I have pretty much become a hermit because it seems like there’s too much going on out in the world for me to deal with. I have had good luck with female docs, wish I had a female dentist, but the one I have is a good guy, so that’s OK. I’m not sure if Meg sold her story, but a lot of stories are emerging.

      9. I am really sorry to hear that. But I can understand you completely. Especially when I watch the news as to what’s happening in the US. I think blogging brings in a little bit of light and contact with the outside world.
        I feel you hit on two really important points: how important it is that we feel both safe and listened to. As women in particular, I think this is often not the case. I hope times will change in the futures for our daughters and granddaughters and great-granddaughters. To help that change come about, our job is to talk about experiences and to say time and time again, that certain behaviours are not acceptable. I am also learning that, especially as I listen to my own children and their experiences.
        Corona is frightening. And some people’s reactions to corona are frightening. There were some riots in a not too far away city (from us) just a few days ago. So much damage was done. Somehow, some people seem to have become extremely angry and seem to need to blow off steam. But in a very counterproductive way.
        I hope you stay safe and that you will be out and about again very soon, seeing family and friends. Social contact is the very essence of life, along with love of course.

      10. I have always been an activist and community organizer, so I attended a recent march in my city and it was inspirational. I wanted to go up to Portland Oregon and join the moms who are protesting the gestapo like secret military and now they’re in Seattle, Washington where I spent half my time, but my son said to wait until they come to my area-because we all think it’s going to happen in this important election year. I’ve heard many different theories on Corona and whether or not a mask really helps, but I wear one in public because it might and I wouldn’t want to get it or carry it. I mean, we wear seat belts too and don’t always get in accidents, so it’s the same I think, for masking. Since my trauma, I have fewer friends but my therapist says that’s healthy because I weeded out the toxic ones. I’m happy alone for now. It’s safer for me. Take care!!!!

      11. We are watching the news here with real horror. What is happening is terrible. It’s hard for us to believe such a thing can happen in America, land of the free. We are wholeheartedly behind your struggles, if not physically, then in spirit.

        I think the masks are good. Of course they won’t stop absolutely everything, but I truly believe they make a lot more than a dent to the overall numbers. I read articles most days here that show research which says that they help massively. At first they implied that they only helped someone who was infected not to infect someone else. But now, as they research more, they say they also help to protect the wearer after all. Some of my friends are doctors and nurses and they wouldn’t be without them!!
        Your seat belt analogy is a good one! I never thought of that.

        I’m sorry to hear you went through something traumatic. Life is so tough at times. I had a breakdown a few years ago, and since then I also have fewer friends. True friends always reveal themselves in our darkest hours.

      12. It’s just seems like such a simple thing to do. Wear a mask-wash hands-stay away from crowds. How difficult is that IF there’s any chance that lives will be saved? I’m sorry about your trauma too. I have learned that only those of us who have walked this path truly understand.

      13. I know. In Berlin there were about 20,000 people demonstrating against wearing masks and social distancing. Really selfish in my opinion. People who are showing their ignorance in not caring about other people. When I think what the doctors and nurses have to wear in hospitals, and what they are seeing and going through every day. I don’t think we have much to complain about at all.
        Thank you. I absolutely agree.

      14. My mom was an RN and I learned a lot about staying safe from germs and viruses. She was way ahead of her time. REALLY big on handwashing haha, but now I get it. Her mantra was “sterile technique”, wiped down all canned foods before putting them away, bleach and Lysol everywhere. I wish she was still alive to talk to her about Covid. A little mask isn’t going to kill anyone and it might save lives. What’s the big deal? We have a lot more important things to protest, in my opinion.

      15. I agree exactly! It doesn’t hurt us at all. And there are so many really important issues. If that is what you choose to protest, what does it say about you? Quite a lot, in my opinion. But I have very strong feelings on the matter.
        I think it’s important that we all now pull together and help each other. Albeit socially distanced.
        Your mum sounds like she would have sorted this out in a jiffy!!

      16. I’m laughing, cos my mom was my size (5ft) but a powerhouse. She told me stories about the 1918 flu pandemic (she was just a baby, but heard stories) and how important it is to NOT spread germs/viruses. Way ahead of her time. She’d totally freak out when she saw my dogs kissing me, lol.

      1. I’m not sure he really liked Goettingen, I visited him once and it was a pretty town but I think he got a lot out of being immersed in the language. Pre-Covid, he was going back to Germany about once a year for conferences and speaking engagements.

      2. It can be a difficult culture to integrate into. I don’t know Goettingen personally, it’s quite far away from me.
        It’s nice that he usually comes back though!

  2. I have missed you and did not realize how much until I read your post. I absolutely loved every single line of it and how true it all is. I hate the whole mask thing. I live with my daughter and she decided that family and friends should have her talented efforts with sewing….and she is really good, I have to admit. She opened an account online here where people who want to earn a bit of money by doing something crafty…or not…and it caught on big time. She makes custom masks with different fabrics and you can have a vent and nose piece if you choose. I told her she created a monster. She has Lupus and I have an artificial heart valve. I felt for her having to do so much by herself (the orders have now went over board due to the States requiring that people wear them…or else! I can’t believe any of it). So now I cut out pieces for her before she assembles and sews them. I still deplore masks and isn’t it ironic that I am doing something that irks me to no end. Anyway, don’t worry about your masks because I am certain they are unique and serve whatever purpose they supposedly are suppose to serve. For me, it’s induced headache after wearing them when I go shopping. Hang in there and who knows, you may become a gardener of epic proportions. Take care.

    1. I always love reading your comments!!!
      My sewing started off because a local doctor needed masks for patients coming to his surgery. An acquaintance of mine is married to a different doctor and she ‘encouraged’ me to sew a few masks. I managed to pump out about 10. Then I started making them for family and friends (the friends do still speak to me!!). So all in all I’ve probably made abound 30 now. Quite a lot of wearers contacted me and told me they were complimented on their unusual designs!! Ha ha!!
      In the ‘early days’ you saw a lot of people wandering about in homemade concoctions but we seem to be a rarer breed now. My youngest insists on only wearing a mama made mask. Although you can buy them everywhere and anywhere now – they are becoming this year’s fashion statement!

      How impressive is your daughter? That’s brilliant!! My daughter helped me as well. Cutting out and ironing all the pieces. All the fiddly bits take so much time. And I managed to damage my sewing machine in the whole process. A part keeps falling off and I keeps having to put it back together as I am sewing – there have been a few screams from the direction of the sewing machine!!

      It’s quite difficult to breathe with the masks on. And my glasses sometimes steam up!! Or they got soggy inside!!

      1. True, true…and true! Breathing is difficult and my glasses have decided to take a stand against masks…just saying. My daughter finally got a new sewing machine as she wore hers’ out. She kept cleaning and oiling it but to no avail and her husband kept rolling his eyes when she talked to it. I don’t think it was listening. Yes, I do the ‘fiddly bits’ and my daughter says it helps out so until the hype dies down, I guess I’m the cutter in her ‘sweatshop’. Bye for now!

      2. She’s not alone!! I talk to mine too. Mind you, I talk to everything: the dog, the plants, insects, the car, the list goes on…

  3. That Self Worth’s a funny old thing, Sarah, isn’t it? Mine tends to hide at the most inopportune moments… and then appears all guns blazing at other inopportune moments! At least we’re good humoured about it!

  4. Helloooo! Glad to hear you are hanging in there. Strange times indeed. No one I know has had COVID-19 either. We are in a big-ish town, but not one that is seeing a lot of travel in and out, as it doesn’t seem that many summer tourists are visiting this year. So, perhaps we won’t see as much illness as other places. We have heard a little of the potential plans for returning to school in the fall, but much is still in the air and for me at least, it feels like I am sort of holding my breath and waiting to see what fall will bring. In the meanwhile I feel as though I’ve been buried in my work and despite being at home I feel I never am caught up.

    Hugs, and hopes that you all stay well!!

    1. Thank you!!
      I am so glad to hear that you are well. I hope it stays that way. I feel there is so much uncertainty about the way forward. It is very unsettling for everyone.
      I am amazed by the amount of people still planning holidays. We will stay put and do som (much needed) work on the house.

  5. I’m so glad you’re healthy and making the best out of this weird situation. Jan seems to work even more in his home office as well! Although he does start slightly later. The past few weeks he’s actually been going to Zurich because he needed to work in the lab but when he isn’t in the lab he’ll be working from home for the rest of the year.

    I don’t know anybody who has been ill and tested positive. My dad said a friend of the family thinks she had it but since she couldn’t get a test we don’t really know. Interestingly my mum tested positive for antibodies! (She’s a nurse and when her ward opened for elective surgeries again all the staff had to have an antibody test and also the actual virus test – my mum was tested twice after the antibody test and both were negative, so she has antibodies but wasn’t infected any more at that time.)

    1. I don’t know anyone personally but I know several people who know people who had it. So once removed. My husband’s boss and his family had it. His wife was neither here nor there, but he told my husband that he felt awful and that his 18 year old daughter had it worse of all and they were terribly worried about her. But they have all recovered. At the very beginning my husband’s colleague met with a friend who then tested positive. So my husband’s whole department was quickly quarantined. But the colleague tested negative so it was all fine.
      A friend’s wife had it. But I have never actually met her – only heard about her as she lives in the UK and they married after I left. She is also a nurse, working specifically in a Covid hospital. She was ill, but there were no complications.
      My son’s close friend is a paramedic and the whole team of paramedics on the opposing shift tested positive, but the friend was fine. So it always felt close-ish, if you know what I mean.
      It’s good to hear that your mum is healthy. Her antibodies should protect her, at least for the time being.
      Isn’t is difficult being so far away from them all in such a crisis?

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