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Closer

29 June , 2020

We received a letter from the school yesterday, only the Gr7s had restarted classroom education so far during lockdown, and one of those children had now tested positive for Covid-19. Eep! The school was deep cleaned again in a hurry yesterday and all Gr7s have been sent home to wait and see for the next two weeks again. Some of the other grades started today.

Nicola’s grade is supposed to start next week and we’ve applied for her to continue remote learning from home for the time being due to her Alpha Thalassemia Trait which makes her more susceptible to infections.

She is of course gutted and misses her friends terribly, but we said that we will only even consider letting her rejoin classmates if the school has not one single infection from now till end of August. We had an above average suspicion that this was mission impossible really, but I must say they are handling this fairly sensibly. I also don’t think this will be the last infection, and they probably won’t come one at a time either in the near future.

Nicola might be more upset about this infection than the poor infected child him/her-self. She was sobbing her heart out yesterday after we shared the news with her, saying she will probably NEVER be allowed to leave the house again. Understandably.

I suppose there are people who are keeping a tight lip around their kids about this chaos, but we have always been honest with Nicola and she needs to be aware in order to be careful. This thing isn’t going away any time soon, and although we would love for her to be able to spend time with her friends and teachers, it is also painfully obvious that we are not actually being paranoid in not letting her go.

How are your kids dealing with the apocalypse?

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And exhale

26 June , 2020

So, I don’t think I’ve harped on too much about it (if I have, sorry). Anyhoo, I was retrenched last year September, and although I’ve picked up the odd bit of contract work here and there, for the better part of a year I’ve been up the creek without a paddle unemployed.

Now with the apocalypse and what came with it, and also the fact that we still plan to fly the coop as soon as possible the only things you could even attempt to apply for have been in hospitals and mines. I live with three high risk people in the house, I’ll starve before I put them at risk like that intentionally.

It’s been tense. We were just barely breaking even before retrechment, and after letting go of everything that could be let go, we went into apocalypse with just about enough to buy plane tickets for all three of us. Mid apocalypse we have had to live on that sadly, so yeah…tense, tense, tense.

I applied for a work from home gig about a month ago. I didn’t really hold out hope for it to come through, but I had some time to kill between baking banana bread and trying to coax life into a veggie garden in the worst season imaginable for such things.

Suprisingly I aced the assessment, but the next steps by HR took up the rest of the last month. Actually, they’ve been so slow in this that I’d actually completely given up on it yesterday and moved the last correspondence from the “Needs Action” part of my Inbox to the abyss that is my archive folders.

And just like that “a watched pot never boils” proved true. I got the job this afternoon. Starting mid July! Hopefully this will get us to break even again, and I’ll McGuyver a Plan B for move money somehow once I can breathe again.

I can’t tell you what a relief this is. I’m going to have a little sob later when I have some quiet time and spend some time on my knees saying thank you.

For those people who’ve recently lost their jobs due to Covid, and who might only be starting their own spin cycles of stress now (who very likely don’t even have such an amazing support structure as I do). You really do have all my sympathy. Hang in there!

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Put THAT in your pipe and smoke it

23 May , 2020

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And here we are, Day 58 of lockdown in South Africa. To say that we are a bit tired of it would be a vast understatement.

Here the powers that be have opted for some fabricated five level system for our eventual release back into the world. What constitutes moving from one level to another is about as unclear as the rules of conduct that go with them. We are currently on Level 4, for what it’s worth – with a strong possibility of moving to Level 3 start of June.

Many (oh so many) of the rules do not sit well with me at all. I’m not an expert in infectious diseases though, so for the most part if I can sort of see a causal connection between the rule and what it attempts to avoid I just roll with it. However, the one that really gets my moer-meter in the red is the one on banning the sale of tobacco products. Why? No other country in the entire world has done this…and although I know you can get an “expert” to confirm more or less any point you’re trying to make, there are studies  internationally being conducted on the effect of smoking on your risk of contracting Covid-19. From what I’ve read it decreases your chances significantly actually.

Anyhoo, the majority of smokers have just found work arounds during Level 4 and 5. We buy illegal smokes. They come from all over and they are strange, but they are smokes. Some come from Dubai, via Mozambique, over Tannie Patricia’s washing line and to a China close to you. The more people you know, the cheaper you can find them (every person who handles them adds a fee for their risk and what not).

We have been salivating with anticipation for Level 3 and the lifting of the cigarette sale ban, only for these yahoos to now come out with err…maybe at Level 1. Not only that but apparently they can now search your car and person for smokes and if you are found with any you must produce a slip of when and where you purchased it, or go to jail. Excuse me? Go ahead and try that. Make sure I’ve switched my car off first or wear your running shoes.

The actual rule which was published in the Government Gazette states, “The sale of tobacco, tobacco products, e- cigarettes and related products is prohibited.” (S27) Not the buying, not the possessing, not the smoking…the sale of. So unless you catch me selling them, you can go and swivel quite frankly.

Even if you don’t smoke, consider this: until a few weeks ago it was also illegal to sell underwear (please do try and explain to me a valid reason for this rule if you can…I’ll wait). Imagine if they were suddenly entitled to search your car and person for panties, and if you were caught wearing any you could either supply proof of purchase prior to lockdown or go to jail…and have your panties confiscated. I think you’d be a bit upset. If you still had your knickers, they might be in a complete and utter knot.

How is this different to that. You might say, but yeah…smoking is bad for you, it’s a temporary limitation, you should use this opportunity to quit. Ha! Well, here’s a whole list of people that reckon underwear is bad for your health too.

So I guess you’re feeling superior while going commando then? Yeah…I didn’t think so.

 

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7 April , 2020

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Self isolation and the end of the words as we know it

20 March , 2020

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I am in two mind about posting this…but what good is a blog if you can’t ramble when you need to? Here goes then. Feel free to skip my post if you feel uncomfortable.

So, unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that the world is imploding around the Covid-19 global pandemic (a rock might actually be a pretty safe place to live under for the foreseeable future, actually). Personally, I don’t actually mind the self isolation working from home gig. I have actually mostly been doing that for the last three or four years anyway. Not everyone in my house is adjusting equally well to the situation. Nicola for instance is about ready to climb the walls, haha!

I’m not an expert but from what I’ve pieced together out of the media, my understanding is that it’s not that deadly for generally healthy people…the panic is around how fast it spreads, that’s it’s very deadly for anyone who is immune compromised, and that in a fairly short span of time people who get it in the worst degree need ventilators, and there are not enough ventilators to go around. Without ventilators their chances seem pretty grim, and so the bodies stack up. Oh yes, and the older you get the more serious it is for you.

I don’t personally feel much at risk, but both my parents (who we live with) are over 60. And roughly a third of the country had HIV. Also many many many many people with Diabetes and Cancer. So lots of at risk people really. I am staying home as far as possible, for all of them. I wouldn’t want to accidentally give it to someone who doesn’t have a fighting chance to get through it.

It’s pretty flipping serious. How serious? Well, I’ve told Nicola that she must pay close attention to what’s going on in the world at the moment, because there is no way this isn’t ending up in the history books. It’s serious enough for the Irish to cancel St. Patrick’s Day, serious enough for the Muslims to evacuate Mecca, serious enough for the Pope to call off Easter Celebrations, serious enough for all churches of all denominations to shut down services, serious enough that almost all countries have closed their schools and universities, serious enough for numerous countries to close their borders.

And yet…it still runs…it’s pretty damned serious.

We go outside of our property the bare minimum, essentials only. If you do go, you get disinfected at the door of anywhere. People are walking the streets in masks and gloves. People who turn up to shops or chemists coughing or looking unwell are turned away by security for the safety of the other patrons (we have actually seen this, it’s real). Small businesses and anyone who relies on actual foot traffic are facing a grim time, the majority of them will not make it through this crisis. Total economic collapse, not just for many individuals, but possibly even for many ill prepared countries.

This is not something that we have to hang tight through for a couple of weeks and then it will be over. There will be a new normal after this, and it will NOT look at all like the one we had before. Mentally prepare yourself: At some point, no matter how isolated your self-isolation might be…you WILL get it. Hopefully you get it in a grade that doesn’t require a ventilator, and if you do hopefully one is available. Hopefully your loved ones are as lucky as you are.

Sorry, I don’t mean to sound glum or cause panic, but this is reality. And I don’t need to cause panic – people are already panicking. And I get it. It’s scary as hell. If it makes you feel better to have 50 000 rolls of toilet paper I don’t judge you for that (unless you pushed someone out of the way to get it. I very much judge you for that and I’d give you a snot klap for doing it! Sies man.). Buy the toilet paper if it will make you sleep better, hier kom groot kak.

What you really want to stock up on is non perishable foods and meds. Those are the things that matter in any post-apocalypse story usually. Just saying…I haven’t stocked up on anything except Easter eggs for Nicola, and cigarettes. I have stocked up a bit on those. I feel like I would like to have a smoke available to watch the world burn when or if it comes to that.

Seriously, what a time to be alive?! There has never been anything in the world that has caused quite so much chaos and disruption to so many people all at once. And we are in the front row (our own couches) of this shit show. And other than flattening the curve it is more or less completely out of our hands (which we will wash continuously until they are raw and spotless). So do what you can, with what you have, where you are (STAY HOME AND KEEP CLEAN!). And don’t believe everything you read…we are of course being fed an phenomenal amount of bullshit in an attempt to contain the panic (*cough cough*…into elbow). Maybe containing the panic is not unreasonable in times like these?

Do not assume it’s incompetence, more often than not it’s intent.