Monday, May 25, 2020
We have no real engagements in our private life any more. This is what the family google calendar looks like now.
We contacted the orthodontist (herself is still miserable with the snapped brace) and she has an appointment for mid-June so that’s something I suppose.
I rang the council to ask about the tennis courts and spoke to a very nice man who said he was only a lowly functionary but the “higher ups” were concerned as council courts and golf clubs couldn’t reopen as, unlike private clubs, they couldn’t guarantee the disinfectant and social distancing required. At least I know why now. I enjoyed the frank exposition of the position which makes sense, I suppose but it does seem a pity. I might see whether I can rejoin the tennis club if this goes on much longer.
Herself continued her examinations. Her maths teacher, in what can only be called an excess of dedication/sadistic exercise, set each child a different paper based on his or her weaknesses. I understand it was in part due to a desire to limit opportunities for, ahem, teamwork. She said it was alright.
Daniel and Michael cycled into school to pick up their stuff from their lockers. We’re a bit unclear about what they are going to do now that they are on holidays and don’t want them to spend every waking hour online. In a non-synchronised effort which could have done with a little more preparation, I told them that they couldn’t play on any electronic devices in the afternoon and Mr. Waffle told them no devices in the morning. The difficulty only emerged at lunch time and we were merciful and let them on devices in the afternoon. What are we going to do all summer?
I had my online book club in the evening and work proceeded on the jigsaw.
No corona virus deaths announced today which must surely be a good sign. I feel filled with, perhaps unwarranted, optimism.
Tuesday, May 26, 2020
I got a mystery bill (by letter) for €2.14 from UPS. I have never had an account with them as far as I know. But it seems an odd amount to try to scam from me. I have sent them an email querying it but I am half inclined to pay it as I am weak and feeble and it is only €2.14.
Herself had her German exam which she said was fine. “Fine” is possibly the most overused word in describing school work and exams to parents. She is busy editing an online quarantine magazine put together with her friends.
The boys are at a bit of a loose end. Related: we finished another jigsaw.
Wednesday, May 27, 2020
Mr. Waffle made sourdough. While it rose a bit more than previous attempts, I am afraid it cannot be called a complete success. Sourdough is a cruel mistress. He also bought croissants for breakfast. Complete success there.
Herself had her applied maths exam. It was hard going. She informed us dolefully that the teacher had said there would be some easy questions and some hard ones and she couldn’t tell which were which. Oh dear.
With the return of outdoor workers, we got a man in to fix the basket ball hoop. Rejoicing.
The cat was going crazy this morning trying to get into the oven. File footage of the cat going crazy:
We ignored it as best we might looking nervously at the unremovable fitted kitchen which surrounded the oven.
I missed lunch due to work issues. Bitter.
At about 5.15 as I was toiling over a hot laptop, I heard a commotion outside. Daniel had kicked a ball through the shed window and the basketball into the next door neighbour’s garden. I texted the neighbours who dutifully tossed back the ball; Michael and I went to sweep up the glass in the shed while Daniel had a restorative bowl of cereal (recovering from the shock of it not being a catastrophic pane of glass to break – level of parental ire: mild).
When I got back to the kitchen, Daniel was pointing at the oven in horror, “There’s a noise, behind the oven.” There was, kind of a fluttery sound, could it be a bird? The unit around the oven is sealed and although there is a small hole at the top, how could a bird have got in? Mr. Waffle said bracingly that it probably flew in the back door but Occam’s razor suggests that it was not a bird that had got in there but something much more sinister.
Aside here on rats and mice. A colleague told me he was bringing up tea to his wife on Saturday morning and thought he saw movement in the bed while she was in the bathroom but said nothing. When she got back into bed, she thought she felt a mild muscle spasm in her leg but didn’t investigate. When she got up to make the bed she found a small dead mouse in the bed. Great unhappiness. The working theory is that she squashed it when she got back into bed. Then another friend of mine had rats under the decking (classic) and called in Rentokil. They told her that, with the lock down, restaurants were largely closed and not only was the usual food supply not there but in normal times restaurants are constantly putting down poison to ensure that vermin are rigorously excluded from their premises but, obviously, not now. So there’s an uptick in rats etc. Good news.
Anyhow, there were myself and Daniel staring horror struck at the oven when Mr. Waffle arrived in to say that Daniel had a zoom training session at 5.30. I undertook to do training, if he would deal with the noise. I did training. Daniel did 800 reps in 45 minutes. I didn’t even know what a rep was before this (it’s one exercise, like a push up or whatever). Those teenage GAA players are the fittest people you will ever meet. Did Mr. Waffle get out our (best case scenario) trapped bird? He did not. I finished work. We went for a long walk. When we came back we heard a scrabbling noise behind the oven. I mean now we appeared to be moving to best case scenario dead bird behind the cooker. My sister suggested we might sprinkle lime behind the cooker. Dear God. I think we might have to get the basketball hoop handyman back to extract the oven and peer behind.
After dinner herself went to her room to recover from the undoubted traumas of the day. Mr. Waffle, the boys and I played an extremely competitive variant of happy families.
Thursday, May 28, 2020
I woke up at 3 in the morning with a sore finger from where I got a thorn in it at the weekend. Early start to the day with a tweezers and needle. Not recommended.
The cat was indifferent to the oven. There were no more noises. Mr. Waffle is inclined to ignore the problems, sweep them behind the oven, if you will but I continue to be…concerned. Herself, who sleeps over the kitchen, announced that she heard a fluttering noise under her floorboards overnight.
The boys made lunch and herself made dinner. I began to realise that just because I now work at the desk where previously I sat to do domestic admin does not mean that I can complete all of my domestic admin and my work admin in the space of the working day notwithstanding the fact that I am now have no commuting time. I am also increasingly realising that talking to people at work about non-work things helps work to work and it is hard to replace with video conferencing.
Friday, May 29, 2020
Rejoice for the bank holiday weekend and glorious weather. We got a nice bread delivery. It was the last day of school and exams for herself and she celebrated by going for a picnic with friends in the park. She hasn’t been sunburnt for years as she is assiduous about covering herself up and putting on suncream but she missed a large swathe of her back and was burnt to a frazzle.
The boys were also enjoying their new found freedom to meet friends on a socially distanced basis outside and met friends in the park for what they assure me was a very successful dungeons and dragons session.
Mr. Waffle and I went for a middle aged but delightful stroll around the botanic gardens.
We had a barbecue for dinner and afterwards had “Seven Psychopaths” for our Friday evening film. I wouldn’t have chosen it myself but not bad. Colin Farrell was excellent. Half way through, one of the children said, “Hang on, is he Irish?” Yes, my cherubim, he is.
Daniel said excitedly that it had been his busiest day since lock down started : French class in the morning (still ongoing despite protests), Dungeons and Dragons in the afternoon and barbecue and film in the evening. The poor child.
Saturday, 30 May, 2020
I was up bright and early to film Dan for his GAA zoom training session. I picked all my peonies as peonies are not consistent with GAA training.
Mr. Waffle and I cycled to the village 5 kms away which I used to find utterly charming and delightful but now is palling slightly.
Cow parsley was growing in great profusion along the river banks. I find myself in some difficulty with cow parsley. In the interior design focussed, occasionally twee and whimsical, corner of instagram I now inhabit (having abandoned twitter as too vicious), people love cow parsley, my God, they love it. Now my mother was a farmer’s daughter, my grandfather and uncle were farmers and a number of my cousins are farmers. I will tell you this, farmers are not taken with cow parsley, they do not see its interior decorating charm and we grew up being told it smelled of cow urine. I can’t say whether this is accurate as, being a city girl myself, my experience of cows is not extensive, but yet, I cannot love cow parsley and pick it in great photogenic armfuls to sit in my bike basket. Too many of my relatives, alive and dead, would snigger at me. Maybe next year.
We dutifully hosted the online quiz which we won last week. It’s more fun guessing than asking the questions. I did enjoy reading the quotes for the poetry round though.
Sunday, May 31, 2020
I got up late which is something I really quite enjoy and don’t get to do very often. We dutifully completed the cleaning rota now in its tenth week (sigh). I had my Sunday book club (not to be confused with my Monday book club) which I hadn’t had for four weeks. We are hoping for a real, non-virtual one in July. Do I indulge optimism too far?
We cycled to the seaside and had chips on the seafront as a bank holiday treat. I’ve had worse. Herself announced, “I have yet again inadvertently swallowed an elastic.” Upon observing tactless laughter, she added bitterly, “Oh yes, serving up orthodontic humour since 2018.”
My father went back into hospital (small private not large acute, but still unsatisfactory). I feel strong regret that I did not drive down to Cork to see him while he was at home. There is zero chance they will let me in to the hospital. As soon as he gets out, I will hotfoot it to Cork with my letter from his GP saying he is very sick and hope to be let through by the Guards. My father’s alright, I think, as in not going to die immediately, but frail and 95 and in hospital so not, you know, great.
Monday, June 1, 2020
I brought out the paddling pool. Mr. Waffle mocked me but we all ended up paddling, so there. We spent all day in the back garden in glorious sunshine. Herself went to meet friends for a picnic in the botanic gardens. Mr. Waffle said that he liked how our lives are less frantic at the moment. I know what he means a bit. We were always squeezing things in and running to training or to meetings (residents’ committee, parents’ committee, you name it) after work but I don’t quite see how we will preserve this post lock down.
Back off on my bicycle to the village 5 km away. Honestly, I’m beginning to think it will be too soon, if I never go there again.
Tuesday, June 2, 2020
This was my first day off work in the new dispensation. I struggled a little bit to know what to do with a day’s holiday. It was a beautiul day but I didn’t quite know what might be different or novel or a treat. I felt the boys needed a bit of exercise so we cycled to the botanic gardens again. They were less than entranced.
It was warm and sunny and not bad but just a bit…repetitive. My day’s triumph was making homemade lemonade which was very nice indeed. We take our thrills where we can.
Wednesday, June 3, 2020
I paid for my day off and was pretty busy at work. I am sick of video conference calls. My sister, who has worked for large multinational companies since leaving college, has been managing remote teams for years and I sense that she is mildly smug as the rest of us struggle with the new dispensation.
My father has been diagnosed with a new illness to add to the long list he has already. As my sister says, it’s chronic which means you can have it for a long time, but still, not maybe a great sign. No word on when he will be let out of hospital.
Daniel had training at 5.30. I have been doing the zooming with him but a work crisis meant I was chained to my laptop so Mr. Waffle took over. Daniel deemed him unsatisfactory: he did not explain the exercises; he failed to count Daniel’s reps (hark at me); he kept saying Daniel should give up if he was tired (Mr. Waffle does not have the same puritanical streak as me); and, worst of all, his phone ran out of battery ten minutes before the end and herself had to be deployed to put an extension lead out the utility room window. Unfortunately, there’s a bit of a knack to the window and herself hasn’t got it so that led to further delay and unhappiness. I have a friend who says that when people say that “there’s a bit of a knack to it” they really just mean, “it’s broken”. This is, arguably, true.
At the start of the lockdown, I commissioned an artist whose stuff I had seen on instagram to paint a portrait of the children. It seemed like a nice thing to do. I sent her loads of photos of the kids so even though she couldn’t see them, she knew what they looked like and she felt it would work ok. Yesterday she sent me a picture of the picture which I will be picking up next week. When I signed the contract with her it provided that she retained the copyright (standard, apparently) and I was sad but now that I have seen it, I will never want to show it anywhere, so that’s ok. I’m not quite sure what went wrong. I saw her other stuff and liked it. But this picture, oh dear. Actually Daniel is ok but Michael looks manic and, as my sister said, herself looks ok but just 30 years older than she actually is. Alas, an expensive and ultimately unsatisfactory experiment. Look, at least I will be spared framing costs. And on the plus side my (not at all expensive when compared to the cost of commissioning a picture) new oven gloves from Marimekko arrived and I love them. I got a pair previously as a present and I can really recommend them: stylish yet practical. It has come to this.
Thursday, June 4, 2020
Another busy day in the salt mines. Herself made an extraordinarily elaborate dinner which was very nice on two counts: firstly, it was very nice and, secondly, I didn’t have to cook it. She was chopping and dicing from lunchtime onwards.
She called it East, East, East, East fusion: gyoza from Japan, spring rolls from China, saffron rice and carmelised lettuce from, maybe, Iran (I forget) and vereniki from Eastern Europe (generally rather than a specific local recipe). As Mr. Waffle said, “At least we won’t have to worry that she won’t be able to feed herself when she leaves home.” There was lemon sorbet and raspberry sorbet with chocolate sauce for dessert but I haven’t got any pictures.
My brother has a new job in Dublin. Theoretically at least. He won’t actually be let into his new office until autumn at the earliest, I’d say so he’ll be based in Cork for a while yet. He is pleased. We are pleased that he will be in Dublin. I’m a bit worried about my sister alone in Cork minding elderly relatives but she seemed sanguine when I spoke to her.
Also, it’s been a week since the fluttery noise. No update. Ominous.