Lock Down Hell – week 3

Days 16-22. Or week 3 if you want it to sound like less.

Monday 30 March 2020 – Day 16

Spain Coronavirus cases: 85,195. Deaths: 7,340. Recovered: 16,780

Today marks some tighter controls here in Spain which basically means there’s a reduced list now of what is classed as essential services. Saw a really poignant video this morning of the IFEMA exhibition hall in Madrid which has opened as a hospital. Just horrifyingly real and so terribly sad. It’s so surreal seeing the place barren filled with beds and oxygen tanks – a huge difference from the days I would visit this exhibition complex for work each year.

Meanwhile in our ‘Isolation Ward’, after my 20 minute heavy breathing threesome with Hubby and Wicks I’m ready for Monday morning. Kids aren’t. Son had a mini meltdown when he realized he was facing the Easter week holidays…you guessed it…at home. I’ll drop the ‘no easter egg’ bombshell another day. It’s so difficult for kids to process this situation. On the other hand, how incredible to be a part of something that’ll be documented in future history books. What a tale they’ll have to tell their kids.

Bit like my memory of a lock down holiday when I was about 5 years old. A Chickenpox outbreak hit the numerous kids in our street one year taking them down like dominoes. Except me. It just bypassed me and waited until our 2 week family holiday in Newquay, which resulted in me spending the entire time locked away in a darkened caravan. Itching. But I’ve recovered. The therapist says the facial tic will eventually subside if not go away completely. Much like my aversion to Calamine Lotion and bunk beds.

Am sure the kids will be equally mentally unfazed and suffer no lasting PTSD effects. I must refer them to some passages from the Terry Waite book I’m in middle of. Held captive in Beirut in a small room he walks around the perimeter of the room in circles to exercise. He counts to work out how many steps there are to a mile roughly and can do up to 14 miles in one stint, until his feet blister or bleed. Then he’ll spend hours doing arithmetic in his head or recollecting memories to keep his mind active. Much like I’ve done above see – with the 20 minute Sweat Challenge and the chickenpox story. Me and Tezza. On the same wavelength.

I’m not sure he did the ‘underpants into facemask’ facebook challenge however.

Tuesday 31 March 2020 – Day 17

“It’s life Jim. But not as we know it.”

I have an earworm. And I like to share.

Losing the will to live today. Son asked why I was shouting as I was explaining how to do his Biology homework for what felt like the billion’th time. I thought I had uploaded calm-nurturing-mummy-teacher mode, but clearly the program is glitching today and has resorted to default setting. Had to reboot several times to prevent a system failure. God this school work lark is so stressful. But it keeps their minds occupied, busy, alert even if it has the complete opposite effect on mine. If the virus doesn’t wipe out mothers across the globe, home schooling will.

On a positive note. I’m glad my kids are home with me. I’ve seen some facebook friends who haven’t been able to see their kids (as they are in lock down with the other parent) or friends who can’t visit their elderly parents due to the rules. So very sad and difficult. But at least they are obeying protocol and getting on with it. To those who aren’t. Don’t be a twat. Stay at home. Quicker this gets sorted, the better for everyone.

Whilst I’m in an antsy ranty mood I’m agitated at posts showing plastic glove/mask debris on the streets. Has the public forgotten how to use a bin? Oh and 5G towers appearing suddenly?. Not sure if these reports are true or the conspiracy theorists didn’t bulk buy enough tin foil, but anything seems possible right now. I did a little research yesterday afternoon which in turn meant little sleep last night. It’s the kids I feel sorry for. Son even started telling me a story the other day which began with: “Mummy, remember in the good olden days…” He’s 12.

On the subject of the good old days, I’m sharing a photo that popped up on my memory thingy from this day in 2012 and it still makes me smile. Taken when the kids used to go to ‘Forest Club’ on a Saturday morning which I can honestly say was the best activity they have ever done. How lucky they are to grow up in this environment.

Wednesday 1 April 2020 – Day 18

Spain Coronavirus cases: 102,136. Deaths: 9,053. Recovered: 22,647

If only this whole thing was really a bad taste joke. Hiding the sanitizer and loo roll is about as risqué as it’s going to get here today.

Not as dynamic as my youthful April Fool attempts. When I was 15 or so I sent my friend Sharon, a letter to her house in an envelope with ‘PREGNANCY TEST RESULTS’ typed on the front. Her sister spotted it first on the door mat (which, as we later discussed was probably a very good thing, due to the fact her mum would probably have killed her. Then opened it). Anyway her sister sneaked it out of the house, saw my April Fool card, and then played along for a while. Sharon and I are still friends. Just.

Less successful was the letter I typed using school letter headed paper (what you could do with a photocopier in those days was genius) sent to my parents advising them that my sister was expelled from school for bad behaviour.
I remember being in the bathroom cleaning my teeth when the postman arrived. There was deadly silence until all hell broke loose as my parents thundered upstairs and launched into my poor sister who emerged from her bedroom completely and utterly baffled. There were tears and lots more shouting and when I finally built up the courage to open the bathroom door, my ‘Ta-Da! APRIL FOOL!” was met with cold abhorrent stares from all traumatised parties involved. That went well I thought. Family dinner was splendid fun later.

Today I’m recovering from yesterday’s unplanned exertion. My agitation levels had increased to the point where I either needed a very long walk (clearly a fruitless ambition) or dust off the record collection and have a DANCE OFF. Kids didn’t want to play (booooorrriiiing) so it was a one-woman show, whilst they looked on with a slight glint of fear in their eyes as ‘mummy-clearly-right-on-the-edge’ shimmied and bounced around the front room in her sweat pants and unwashed hair.

While I was on a roll I thought I’d also acquaint them to one of my favourite albums as a teen (I can still cry to Ebony Eyes), which strangely sent them off quite rapidly in different directions to their rooms. No accounting for taste. I may be failing at home schooling but I’m winning at this parenting lark.

Thursday 2 April 2020 – Day nnnnnn19.nnnnnn19

Despite the wet weather the household is in better spirits today. Couldn’t get much worse to be fair. Emotions hit boiling point yesterday afternoon as the kids, eager to dispel the myth they were getting along, launched into a battle over Netflix. Trouble with boy and girl is they rarely agree on what they want to watch. So as anarchy erupted they brought the carnage to my door.

Big mistake. Of gargantuan proportions. In my head I solved the problem by calmly confiscating the remote whilst skipping to a sing song. Clearly however Mary Poppins has never had to endure lock down so if you heard the fracas in Guaro I apologise. After that shit-storm dissolved into a soggy mess, the family managed to sidestep each other for a few hours until the dust had settled. God help me. If we survive this I’ll never ever moan about the school run again.

Stress has moved in. As from April Hubby is another statistic to add to the unemployment data. It’s like a bad game of Downfall. Turn the wheel and everything comes crashing down.

On the plus side I can offload some meal prep his way. Thinking of what to feed everyone twice a day is taking its toll. Especially when I look at recipes and realise it requires something I haven’t got. Like FLOUR. This was apparently at the top of the panic buyers’ lists when we thought lock down was an idle threat. By the time I went shopping the loo rolls, pasta, rice, flour and salt (just what are you doing with all that sodium chloride Maria?) were AWOL and still now flour is noticeable in its absence. I hope you overzealous flour buyers have got packets full of breeding weevils.

Anyway brownie points to Hubby – who redeemed himself in the Hunter Gatherer stakes yesterday having returned from Aldi with 2 bags of flour – he shall now be rewarded with cake which I shall endeavor to knock up over the weekend if I can get my Delia head on.

On the subject of food, which seems to be the main topic of conversation for the kids who drift from fridge to cupboard asking “what’s for lunch?” to “can I have a snack?”, I can tell where son has been in the house as there’s a trail of mandarina peel piles (say that quickly if you can) left behind in his wake. He’s like the pet gerbils I had as a kid. You let them out of their cage on a Sunday for a run around the lounge only to discover little piles of droppings dutifully deposited behind the sofa or in your slippers. Which you then have to locate and clean up. Often finding a surprise pile somewhere unexpected.

Friday 3 April 2020 – Day 20

Up and out early doors this morning for the weekly shop. Had to queue to get into Mercadona mainly because of the sanitizing hand routine which means we are all filtered in – all very civilized and full stocked shelves- except flour. But am I bovver’d? No. Because I am in the possession of 2 bags thanking you kindly please thank you to you very much madam.

To the lady who very blatantly pushed her way in the queue. It’s not a trolley dash love. Social distancing does not mean there’s a gap in front for you to squeeze into… But if your need is greater than the rest us, on you go sweetheart. Personally I’m in no rush to get home and sadly have no where else to go. I cleared my throat when she did it and she nearly leapt 2 metres ahead at that point.

Found myself chunnering as I drifted around the aisles discussing what I needed. Seriously need to watch that. Or maybe everyone else is doing the same, they just hide their psychosis behind their masks. Note to self: Discuss meal prep predicaments and shopping dilemmas inside your head Karen. Not out loud. No one needs to hear this dialogue.

Went the long way out of the car park to feel like I was on a bit of a magical mystery tour and twice around the roundabout, (I’m a fearless daredevil living life on the edge), just to make the journey seem a bit exhilarating. It wasn’t, I just felt a bit dizzy after. Gutted I don’t need any diesel as it’s about €1 a litre at the moment. Watch it sky-rocket when this is over.

So with a fully loaded fridge, wall to wall sunshine and the prospect of a week off next week the kids are in fine fettle today and even engaged in some physical education activities. Together. Without fighting. Hoorah! When I unveil their easter egg gifts this weekend I do believe I’ll be well in line for a Mummy of the Year award.

Saturday 4 April 2020 – Day 21

Dashing online today in my VERY busy schedule to write this. No seriously. I haven’t stopped! Very rewarding day. Doing what did you say? Well I don’t like to brag about my productivity but since you ask….Carter cleaned a deep fat fryer. As you do. Oh and he taught Sol how to clean the swimming pool (if you see a theme of child manipulation ready for summer jobs you are very astute) and they also made an archery target (more about that tomorrow). And no it’s not on my back – although I did check.

Luna and I tackled the garden until rain stopped play, I rang my mum for a weekly catch up and then did the ‘circling satellite mom thing’ while Luna did some baking. This was followed by a Zoom chat with some girlfriends.

Nice sense of achievement helps boost the morale, which after today’s official announcement about the lock down being extended until 26th is much needed. Twas to be expected and to be honest I can see it dragging on into May. But these 2 week extensions are all about filtering the general public with time scales they can mentally cope with. If the government said “hey we’re gonna disrupt your life, force you to stay home, make you wear marigolds and a mask to go shopping, leave you financially crippled and if that’s not bad enough, we’ll make you home school your kids for the next 2 months”, I reckon there would be a revolution.

So little by little they eek it out so it’s less of an impact. A small dint, instead of a whacking great bomb size crater.On that note I’ve seen peeps doing the young and now photos. So I thought I’d post mine….

Sunday 5 April 2020 – Day 22

Sunday. Day of Rest. Or Day of UnRest. Bit more like it. Kids took advantage of me outside weeding the cactus garden (I like to spice up my Sunday morning with a hint of danger) and slept in and had a very lazy start to the day.
The better mood they are in, the easier is all round. If I hear them laughing or giggling then, under the circumstances, it’s a bonus. Because at the moment finding the lighter side in all this uncertainty is about all that’s keeping most of us sane.

And ultimately that is what this is about. Learning how to accept the situation for what it is and emerging the other side intact.

So what if Barbara is DuoLingo’ing her way through German. Sehr gut Babs. Or Wendy is staring down the neck of her wine bottle in her pyjamas again. Or Carla’s found enlightenment thanks to an online meditation course.

It is not a contest. And there’s no prize this time Katniss. The closest thing to enlightenment I’ve got is realising a packet of biscuits, once opened, is like a corn field to a plague of locusts
If I come through this with a well maintained garden, my sanity and everyone alive, I’ll be winning. Bollocks to all this pressure to be someone you are not, just because we have more time at home. It is not a holiday, it’s not a health retreat and it’s not much fun.

So to the meme: “you’ll never get this time again so enjoy it”. Well quite frankly, I never want this time again. It’s an enforced lock down with our freedom removed. Yes I understand why. And yes we are doing our bit. But I don’t have to applaud it. I will tolerate it. And I will do the best I possibly can. But I won’t be fluent in Mandarin or origami a new lampshade.

So don’t be a pleb and shame folks for doing something. Or, for doing nothing. Or I’ll set ‘Mockingjay’ on you. After we’ve revived the cat.

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