Sunday, May 10, 2020
I had a cold shower again. Just not a delightful start to the day. It was cold and overcast.
We cleaned in accordance with the cleaning rota which is succeeding beyond my wildest dreams. It’s also bringing us together as a family because we all hate it but, like the Leaving Cert, it is tough but fair as we all rotate through all the jobs.
Mr. Waffle and I went for a cycle which was grand though a bit repetitive. And it did not rain on us which was very welcome. Small triumphs.
Monday, May 11, 2020
I started the day with another cold shower. The plumber came at lunch time and fixed the shower. There was great rejoicing.
Delivery of the Irish Times every morning continues to bring joy although the paper is pretty slim. Monday is the sports supplement day and there are still a lot of sports pages which is quite amazing given how little sport is actually continuing. Mr. Waffle wrote a letter to the paper last week and I read it out to him over breakfast without realising it was his (he’s a secretive soul). He got a great kick from saying, “Mmm, but can we trust this random letter writer?” and having me look to see who sent the letter and realise it was him. This is how we amuse ourselves in lock down.
I cycled out to our nearby village with herself which was pretty chilly but probably good for us. It felt a bit worthy.
I had my online book club again, we have even begun, tentatively, speaking about books again. In our new zoom format, I’ve become much more aware of who the quiet ones are and who the talkers are. Lads, I’m a big talker.
I am delighted that we have a) got a new e-reader and b) worked out how to download library books on to it. Mind you, the recommended book club read (“Such a Fun Age”) is only available in August, still something to look forward to for the holidays.
Speaking of holidays, I have resigned myself to the loss of the money paid for flights for five of us to America this summer (out to NY back from LA, let us never speak of it again) and am turning my attention to possible summer holiday locations in Ireland. Our friend who is holed up in West Cork for the duration says that holiday houses for August are going fast. Is this just an opportunity to throw good money after bad? Will we actually be able to go anywhere in August? Should I just look forward to a fortnight at home exploring in the Dublin region? Thoughts?
Tuesday, May 12, 2020
I started the day with a warm shower. That is an awful lot better than a cold shower.
Herself got up early and watched “Normal People” on the telly. Mr. Waffle found her downstairs at 8. She told him she was going to be discussing it in her French conversation class at 9.30. “I understand there’s a lot of sex in it,” said Mr. Waffle bravely. “Yes,” she said, “that’s why I’m watching it at 8 in the morning without my parents.” Fair enough.
Mr. Waffle asked me recently what we would have done differently, if we’d known the pandemic was coming. Probably not an awful lot (with the exception of booking and paying for so much travel). Last year when we got the kitchen done, I would have been a bit more insistent about getting a loan to do the utility room as well (we wanted to turn it into a kids’ games room, place where they could gather, it would have been pretty handy as a home office in current circumstances), however, Mr. Waffle assures me that he would not have agreed to a loan, even had he known about the pandemic, so I suppose that’s not really a lost chance. Mr. Waffle is cautious and dislikes being in debt more than I can say. Lengthy diversion follows to describe how, when he was a student in Paris, he used to walk to the distant suburb where he lived rather than get the RER as he didn’t have enough money and didn’t want to ask his parents for more. I particularly like to hear about the time he walked out from the centre of Paris, in the snow, with a hole in his shoe. You might think based on this story that his parents were unable or unwilling to fund him but, on the contrary, they were generous and quite willing. He is not a man for depending on others when he can manage by himself.
We were going to get a job done on the bathroom this summer and I suppose we could have speeded that up a bit, particularly as we have now had to spend money to fix the old shower but it’s alright really.
What about you? Are there things you would have done differently, had you known that the pandemic was coming? I’m not talking about investing in disinfectant, zoom and face mask shares but more in the domestic and personal sphere.
In going through old files (Mr. Waffle and I are the king and queen of filing) looking for our gas reference number from our former supplier (which I needed for reasons to do with my own idiocy covered in a previous post), I found a folder with insurance documents for the car we brought back from Brussels in 2008. The car went to my sister in, maybe, 2011 and she got rid of it a number of years ago. I suggested that the papers might go but he is reluctant to part with them. The folder has moved under the stairs with a view to subsequently, perhaps, going to the shed and, ultimately, perhaps, whisper it, disposal. I suppose if it goes, I’ll be compelled to review my folder of payslips from the 90s. We’re all on a journey here.
Mr. Waffle and I went for our evening walk in the 5km zone. Not much by way of novelty, I fear.
Wednesday, May 13, 2020
Woke up and had absolutely no idea what day of the week it was. I worked it out later. I had a warm shower, again. Very pleasing.
I have been reflecting on the joy of lunch. The five of us have lunch together every day. Dinner is a constant source of disappointment to me. I am a poor cook and my children are picky eaters (perhaps these are related things). But lunch is easy – just a collection of left overs from the fridge arranged nicely and usually everyone eats something (though Michael has been known to hold out, he sometimes also nibbles a little chorizo).
It was absolutely freezing and I apologise to no one for having spent the day with a hot water bottle at my feet.
Mr. Waffle and I went for an evening walk but didn’t really find any fresh fields to conquer. The school contacted us to encourage one of our children to put in a bit more homework than had been received to date. There was some unhappiness but all was forgiven and the child expressed a firm purpose of amendment. It is very tough on them as the expectation level is so unclear. I cannot wait for the summer holidays to start at the end of the month.
Thursday, May 14, 2020
Today was a day filled with meetings which is tricky from home. Not as tricky for me as for one of my colleagues who presented to 40 people with great aplomb on an interesting and complex topic. Doing this online is tough anyhow but when your two year old and your four year old children are with you and are being minded by the TV (as his were, he confided to me later), it is even tougher. He was great but the meeting ran over and he was still fielding questions when an irate child in the background asked about lunch in imperious tones. I thought he handled it really well, saying calmly, “I’ll just mute my mic for a moment.” We wound up shortly afterwards all the same. I mean, just as well really, I wanted my own lunch.
Daniel had to do his home ec practical exam and he made dough balls and bruschetta. We had them for dinner last night and very nice they were too. Herself made risotto for our main course. She makes wonderful risotto. While my children were slaving over a hot stove, I went for a cycle and I ran into a friend in the park. We were both unaccompanied so I hopped off my bike and we went for a socially distant walk and chat which was lovely. Zoom is all very well but it’s no substitute for meeting people.
I like to tell my children stories about my parents and relatives but, I suppose, they may have heard some of them before. A recent practice has sprung up where when people have heard a story before they raise their hands. Michael generally doesn’t to the intense chagrin of the others; mostly because he doesn’t seem to have listened the first 14 times I’ve told the story. I embarked on a story last night and it was greeted by a forest of hands. “She’s concerned about the Library of Alexandria,” explained the Princess. I came across a phrase recently, “Every time an old person dies, the Library of Alexandria burns to the ground.” It really struck me. I think probably because my father is so old and knows so much. I turn to him for information on all historical 20th century events (he was born in 1925 so he has personal experience of most of it) and questions about family and relatives and I am increasingly conscious that he won’t live forever. Until, the Princess made her announcement last night, I hadn’t really thought of myself as being the Library of Alexandria and trying to drum in family stories and facts to the children to ensure they survive after I’m gone but I suppose that is exactly what I’m doing. Anyhow, I looked a bit balefully at the Princess and she added, “Though, in this case, I wouldn’t say the Library of Alexandria is particularly strong on trigonometry.” Oh how we laughed.
Friday, May 15, 2020
We got a bread and croissant delivery for breakfast to celebrate the start of the weekend. Hurrah. The orthodontist texted that he is re-opening mid June. Further rejoicing.
Mr. Waffle and I cycled to the sea which is within our 5 km zone. It remains unchanged from when we last inspected it on my birthday (March 10) but it was nice to the see the sea, I have to say.
We had cinema night. It continues satisfactory. Herself chose the film. We had a Will Ferrell offering called “Stranger than Fiction” which wasn’t bad. Great cast and a clever idea. Some problems in execution though. But PG 13 which was a huge relief to everyone.
Saturday, May 16, 2020
It was my niece’s birthday and we skype called her to wish her a happy 12th birthday. She seemed cheerful notwithstanding lock down. She is re-watching all of the “Friends” episodes for the fourth time so she and I had some discussion on this shared cultural endeavour.
I retired some of Michael’s (very small) t-shirts and bought more online. Now that he is basically an adult size, this is not as cheap as it once was. We bought a shirt for Daniel, a shirt for me and a couple of items for herself as well. I have never bought an item of clothing online for myself before and I await with mild interest the outcome of this foray into a brave new world. I have, depressingly, ordered face masks for all of us as well. As I understand it we are encouraged to wear them in shops and on public transport. Something to look forward to.
Mr. Waffle and I went out for a cycle; we thought we might have a walk in the cemetery (all the thrills) but it was locked up.
We took part in an online quiz and we didn’t do too badly considering that due to technical issues we missed all the questions in one round. The wifi continues to be delicate.
I await your pandemic news with bated breath etc.