Recently herself said to me, “You know when people say that women talk a lot, what do they mean, compared to whom?”. “Men, maybe,” I said. “But we know that men talk more than women in meetings and lectures and tutorials and all kinds of settings,” she said. “We do,” I said. And I know it myself from living in the world and working in a male dominated environment. “They talk a lot compared to nothing,” she said. As someone who has always been gently mocked by others and, indeed myself, for talking a lot, this really made me think. I’m still thinking about it.
So Daniel was a bit under the weather yesterday. We tested him – negative. For this relief much thanks. Michael and I took the Italian for a walk up to Eagle’s Crag.
We had lunch in Wicklow. That evening we went out to dinner and the theatre – Translations in the Abbey, not a great production I thought and a bit hard for the Italian but, you know, fine. Daniel felt a bit miserable so didn’t come.
This morning Daniel announced that he felt pretty sick and a bit dizzy. He took another Covid test. I honestly despair. Of course it was positive. He and the Italian have been sleeping in the same bedroom. We can only pray at this point. We’ve moved poor Dan into a camp bed in the study. On mature reflection maybe we should have moved the Italian but we’re committed now.
Meanwhile herself has received a communication from a close friend that he has Covid. I despair further. She tested negative this morning but has a bit of a sore throat so really who knows what tomorrow will bring? If we could just get the Italian – currently symptom free! – on a plane home, that would be great. His mother is looking at options. I mean if he has to stay here for 10 days in quarantine his English will be amazing but I’d say he’d rather be in Ischia on holidays with his friends.
And our French exchange is due to arrive on Monday. Pray for me.
So yesterday was my first day of not working. The weather was lovely. I was able to sit in the garden. I could chat face to face with Mr. Waffle and the boys from a safe distance. I could take my meals in the garden. I felt much better. My face got slightly sun burnt. Not normally a cause for rejoicing but it was a surprisingly pleasant day. I still, alas, have a cough and a runny nose but everyone else remains infection free. Today is a bit more overcast so I am dividing my time between the garden and the lovely isolation bedroom. I can see this becoming quite tedious. I think I will try another Covid test in the morning in the hope that maybe I am no longer infectious.
The view from my perch yesterday. A massive improvement on the day spent in the bedroom.
We had a long chat with herself yesterday. Logistics seem broadly sorted for her return from England; she won a mild prize (£50 book token) for an exam – not the end of year ones which she just finished but I have to hope that this is a promising sign; she has exhausting and exhaustive summer plans; and she should be home next weekend. Hurrah.
I ceremonially put on my work out of office and dealt with a few last emails.
My favourite aunt – my father’s sister – is 93 either yesterday or on Wednesday. My grandmother and the hospital disagreed on the date and the matter was never satisfactorily settled. I spoke to her on the phone. She seems perky I am pleased to report.
I got a message from Daniel at 8 this morning telling me he was on the bus to Offaly to spend the day with his friend from there. Rome, Edenderry, he’s covering all the exciting locations this week.
Michael and I are thrown on our own resources. Mr. Waffle was able to spend a good bit of time at home yesterday but today he is more tied up at work. Michael is finding working as my chef close to a full time job and he is not hugely enjoying it. But he is resigned. We played charades for a bit in the back garden – something than allows for distance – but this is all we could come up with.
Still, I am enjoying not being at work. Lots to look forward to, I feel.
*Small prize (honour and glory) if you know where this quote is from. It used to be one of the Princess’s favourite books and she would often quote from it.
Me (to Mr. Waffle) : In July you’ll be working, herself will be working and Daniel will be at his camp but Michael and I will be free. Maybe we’ll go away for a couple of days. Maybe to Northern Ireland.
Him: In July?
Let’s pause to sympathise with those who are responsible for promoting Northern Irish tourism.
Friday was my last day at work for a while. The last couple of weeks have been…intense culminating in a late night session running in to the early hours of Friday morning (3 am since you ask). I spent all day Thursday feeling a bit under the weather and as the evening wore on into Friday morning, I felt worse and worse. At one stage I went around closing all the windows in the room we were working in as I was cold although nobody else was. I’ve been a bit sick on and off over the past couple of weeks but repeated Covid tests were happily negative.
I decided to cycle home rather than get a taxi after the marathon session to 3 am because I didn’t want to abandon my bike. As I cycled home through the summer city night, I felt quite dizzy. Perhaps, I thought, because I was tired. I dragged myself from bed the next morning at 10 having passed a sickly night. I took a last Covid test and, wouldn’t you know it, it was positive. I broke the news to colleagues and I sincerely hope that I haven’t given it to anyone – so far so good but my window closing antics can’t have helped I fear – I got a laugh from one sympathetic message which said: “Conscientious to the end, getting sick in your own time.”
Yesterday and Friday I was absolutely miserable. Today, I’m ok really, it’s just like a head cold. I do wonder if I could have two things together because I’m surprised that Covid alone would make me so ill given that I have all the vaccinations.
On Friday night I was due to collect Daniel from the airport and hear all about his trip to Rome. Mr. Waffle was at a dinner. Mr. Waffle had a sober dinner and collected Dan later. I still haven’t been able to talk to him in person and I would like to give him a hug, now that he’s home. Preliminary indications are that he had a good time. He brought me Daim bars from the airport and Pecorino cheese from Rome and I have been sustaining myself on these delicacies. And everyone was right, he was able to get himself to and from Rome by plane with no difficulty even though the flights were delayed both ways.
Poor Michael has been entirely neglected by his mother for the past week and I was hoping to see a bit more of him over the weekend but alas, our only engagement is him leaving food parcels and pots of tea outside the bedroom door for me.
Yesterday, for my first day off, I was planning to go to a talk at the Dalkey book festival with a friend. She had booked lunch after, we were both really looking forward to it. Sadly, this is where I spent my Saturday.
I was due to get the ferry to England on Monday morning, stay with a friend in Shrewsbury and then collect herself and her belongings and come back home. We are considering a range of logistical alternatives and it will all be fine but I have to say, I was really, really looking forward to the trip. Oh well, another time. She was at her ball last night and I have photos which show a lot of imagination in relation to eye make up. Successfully, if you ask me.
Meanwhile I am confined to my bedroom. Mr. Waffle has brought up the desktop for me to play with, so expect regular blog updates. Though not a lot is happening to me so maybe not. The downstairs bathroom and the temporary shower in the utility room [we got it put in when we were doing the upstairs bathroom and it is so unutterably hideous that I had suppressed its very memory but it’s still there just waiting for its chance to shine] have been assigned for my use. Sometimes it’s hard not to feel judged.
Oh and today is Father’s Day. You would have to feel for Mr. Waffle given the very limited service that has been available.
Incidentally I am in the throes of discovering that every single chair is uncomfortable and reading in bed doesn’t have as much to recommend it as I had previously thought. My back is killing me.
And a last piece of news from next door. Their misfortunate daughter has Covid again. I think that’s the fourth time. As always, things could most assuredly be worse.
I was talking to a friend about my year off, my sabbatical as I think of it and he asked would I be travelling. Not really. Doing a degree? Nope. Writing my novel? Again no. “What are you going to do then?” he asked. “A bit more around the house,” I said. “My husband does a lot of the domestic stuff because he’s around the house more; I’ll learn how to use the washing machine,” I said. “So you’re taking a year off to do more washing,” he said. I think I need to find less snarky friends.
Here are my thoughts on what I will be doing. Almost as an aide memoire to myself. If I get none of these things done, then so be it.
On matters domestic:
More organising, sorting handymen, getting things done around the house that have been put off because we just haven’t had time: sorting the shed; the utility room; getting the house painted; re-doing the floors; taking the children to appointments; more (though not all!) domestic admin including making arrangements for powers of attorney now that the Assisted Decision Making Capacity Act is finally being commenced (so worthy, you cry – we promised to do it when we were making our wills but were waiting for the Act, this is our chance); more gardening; finally getting the brass lacquered, the furniture repaired and the clocks fixed. I will go for those blood tests the GP is so keen on (not because I’m ill but because she wants to do a general check up – good idea, I suppose).
Recently when I was giving Daniel an emergency last minute lift to GAA practice because I had forgotten that he had training and come home late to make dinner and therefore he hadn’t time to cycle, I said, “When I take my break from working I will remember when all your training nights. I will be on top of all the detail.” “Mum,” he said, “are you sure you want to spend all your break acting like a glorified secretary?” Good point. I will need to watch out for that. Maybe I won’t know when he has training after all.
I’ll keep up the school parents’ council and the church but I might have time to volunteer a bit more for the tasks being doled out rather than cravenly shirking them. I have not spent all this time learning Ukrainian on Duolingo to have it be completely useless although judging by my recent encounter in the lane with our new 9 year old Ukrainian neighbour who until 2 months ago spoke no English, it might be. Maybe I should learn basic Russian as well.
More time with the boys; a chance to meet them after school; pick them up if it’s raining; hear about how their days are going; help them if they can face it. More days out with my husband. More weekends away with him. Finally learning to cook or to slightly enjoy cooking. Maybe more bread making? Maybe not. More trips to England to visit herself (though her suggestion that I might drive over to England, pick up all her stuff and then drive home alone again while she goes to the end of term ball and on to London found little favour with me when put forward and was subsequently revised).
Helping to sort out my parents house; seeing my elderly aunt; travelling with my sister (she has mentioned Iceland, I said no initially but now I think, why not?); bringing the boys to Cork a bit more; maybe just spend some time thinking about my parents and writing a bit about my mother’s life ( I wrote about my father for his funeral and I want to do something similar for my mother).
I think I might try this sea swimming thing – my friend from Clontarf goes every day, is this crazy? June seems like a good time to start that. Gretchen Ruben visits the Met every day. In a small way I might do that myself, go into the National Gallery most days, finally cash in my membership gift card. I’ll possibly rejoin the tennis club. I will continue to lunch. If you are willing to go at odd hours and take your chances you can get really good meals from the TUD catering college (I think it’s now the BA in Culinary Arts). I’m keen to test it out.
I mean it all feels amazingly exciting and delightful. I am so lucky to be able to do this. I think it’s the absence of stress as well. Christmas and summer holidays will be better when there are no calls from work and when the weeks leading up to the break are not absolutely frantically busy.
Yesterday was my last day at work until October 2023. Oh yes. And though I was broken by the run up to it, I am pretty pleased now.
Let the good times roll.