We have reached a milestone today…30 days in lockdown…not exactly something to celebrate, but on the other hand, the fact that we are all still here, healthy and apparently reasonably sane since we haven’t killed anyone (yet), is a good enough reason to rejoice…take out the bubbly!
My posts are becoming less frequent and shorter as the days become longer and indistinguishable from one another. What’s in a day? How is Throwback Thursday any different from Manic Monday, Hump day Wednesday, TGIF and Sunday Funday? Except for the difference in the name, it has all become a blur of sameness, interspersed with a sudden flurry of activity on any given day, only to fall back in the prevalent monotonous life the rest of the week.
We’ve done just about everything to keep busy just as the rest of the island (and the world). Lots of cooking, baking and cleaning, walking, hiking and biking with swimming also added to this list recently; we are finally allowed to go to the beach for a quick swim.
One of the things I’ve taken to doing to help pass the time is washing the cars. I’ve become almost an expert at it and can ‘wax on, wax off’ a car in under an hour. My parents lovingly keep telling me not to bother washing their car and I just recently discovered that it isn’t because they don’t want me to go to the trouble as they have been claiming for the past few weeks; it’s because I suck at it!
And I must admit, they are right. I don’t get it. I mean, it’s not rocket science right? How difficult can it be to wash a car? Well, extremely difficult apparently because no matter how I try, the car always ends up with visible streaks on it. And then there is the car roof…
In my defense, I’m only 1.57 m tall. And my dad’s pickup is waaay bigger than that! Besides, no one looks at car roofs anyway, so why bother cleaning it! In any case I gave them a way out; I need the ‘entertainment’ factor washing the car gives me, they need an excuse for why the car looks like it was washed by an eight-year-old. My solution? If anyone asks, just tell them the neighbor’s kid washed it. They look like heroes for giving ‘the kid’ something to do while I actually get to do it and…well…have something to do! Win-win all the way! Okay, except for the neighbor’s kid…sorry buddy, tough times, tough choices…you can go wash your own parent’s car!
Well, gotta go, I’m off to wash the pickup again. “Hey dad, where’s the key? Actually, where is the pickup? Did you hide it down the street again?!”
It is a proven fact, even I can’t deny it anymore…I’ve gone totally bonkers! I’ve not only forgotten the days of the week but apparently also what year we are in, or more specifically, what age I’m turning this year!
I really thought it was going to be a ‘walk in the park’. I assumed I was in tip top shape since my watch seems to think so. It keeps telling me I’m in the 15th percentile of my age group (whatever that means) and that I’m as fit as a twenty-year old! Now, to be honest, I can’t rely on all the information my sports watch provides, especially the swim times are usually off by a hundred meters or more, but this particular statistic is of course one that I believe in blindly and I made sure to record it for posterity…and more importantly, to bug my kids. I repeatedly point out to them that I’m officially younger than they are!
Point being, when the government announced that on Sundays you are only allowed to go to the beach on foot or bicycle, I decided that I would take on that challenge and then some… I was going to take the loooong way by cycling to the furthermost beach on the island, Playa Forti at West Punt and back for a total of just under 100km. Piece of cake right, trusty watch? Yeah, maybe 30 years ago…not now!
It all started smoothly enough, downwind, not too many climbs, mostly just coasting downhill towards Playa Forti beach. Being ‘balance challenged’, I still managed to pull my phone from my back pocket and take some selfies, again for posterity and to serve as proof that I made it to Westpunt. I was all smiles and giggles…I had done it!
The reason I was so darn proud of myself that I reached Westpunt on my own is because I’m sort of a coward when it comes to doing things by myself. I’m the first one to yell: “I’m in!” whenever someone comes up with a challenge…as long as it’s in a group. I’m just not a ‘fly solo’ kind of person. The Covid19 measures forced me to leave my comfort zone; if I wanted to move, I had to do it on my own. I started with baby steps, staying close to home and with Google’s ‘live location’ on so that my family could track my whereabouts at all times. It went better than I anticipated, and my confidence soared. I ventured out further with each ride…and then I got cocky…
Let’s fast forward back to my Westpunt adventure. After taking the required selfies and eating an energy bar, I started on my trek back home and suddenly…boom! No, I didn’t fall, but I did feel like I smacked into a wall, only it was made of air. The unforgiving wind taunted me, giving me a few meters of headway only to push me back to where I had been a few meters ago.
I’ve cycled this road plenty of times, so I know the wind is killing heading back, but it has been a long time (read, years) since I biked this particular area…I’d forgotten how hard this was. If you are cycling with more people you can alternate riding in front with coasting in the back to catch your breath but when you are on your own, it becomes a battle between you and the wind. Actually, you and the wind accompanied by his friends the sun and the hills!
I wasn’t smiling anymore. In fact, I had to bite down hard not to breakdown and cry or just step off the damn bike. I trudged on, focusing on my breathing and keeping a consistent, but much slower, pace. A few stray dogs saw me struggling and probably felt sorry for me because they didn’t bother to chase me. I could see it in their gleaming eyes: ‘No point going after her, way too easy, she’s gonna drop any second now.”
“It’s a good thing I’m only twenty, right?!” That’s the crazy mantra that I kept repeating to myself. It somehow kept me going, even though I could feel the years piling on with each passing kilometer, surpassing my actual age by at least 100! Then, finally, just as I was about to throw in the towel and call for backup, I took in my surroundings and noticed that I was in familiar territory…I was almost home, just a few kilometers to go, I could do this, just had to peddle this one last stretch and I’d be home. Forget the mantra, forget everything…just…peddle…the…damn…bike! I did it! I biked a loop to Westpunt beach and back. Crazy? Probably, but I proved to myself that crazy is as crazy gets and that life is a box of chocolates. I think my life is cherry liqueur infused dark chocolate, what’s yours?
But seriously, there is a lesson to be learned from this adventure. I learned not to give up. I guess it is true what they say; ‘What goes up, must come down’. Although some of the hills were tough, they all eventually reached a top and once I crested that top, I was awarded with a long downhill stretch to help me recover and prepare for the next climb. All I had to do was keep pushing and not give up.
I’m sure there is also a saying about the blazing hot sun and the unforgiving wind that can be turned into a silver lining, but I’m too tired to ponder the possibilities. I’ll have to get back to you on that one.
Meanwhile, I’m just going to crash on the sofa with my box of cherry liqueur infused dark chocolates and contemplate life from a horizontal perspective.
Wow, I can’t believe it’s been six days since I last updated the logbook. You would think that being stuck at home I have nothing but time to write, alas, it doesn’t work like that. It’s not just about having the time at your disposition; you need an alignment of elements for it to work and my world has been completely unaligned for the last few days (technically, for the last few weeks but more so the last few days).
But today was a good day and I grabbed it with both hands (in my case, I grabbed my laptop with both hands and started furiously tapping away). I was (and still am) in a relatively good place because I made my bed this morning. I usually make it first thing when I wake up, but lately it has been taking me almost the entire day before I finally make a halfhearted attempt at straightening the sheets and fluffing the pillows before tumbling into bed again. To me, making my bed is like an affirmation: I’m up, I’m alive and I’m ready to take on the world (or at least the day). I haven’t been very affirmative as of late, hence my tangled, messy bed.
But there have been positive changes; we are now allowed to go out and do sports in the mornings and late afternoons and I have been making good use of that freedom, jumping on my bike or going for long walks whenever I had the chance. (It’s probably also one of the reasons I haven’t written much in the past few days.)
It made me happy to finally be outside, but it made me feel even better when I saw so many other people enjoying these same perks. The first time out on my bike, there were people walking everywhere (while maintaining the proper social distance). Not just at the usual spots where walkers and runners exercise, but along the entire route. As if they had simply opened the front door and walked out with no particular destination in mind, as long as it was outside of those four oppressive walls.
This was one change I had hoped would survive the lockdown; people walking out and about, enjoying the fresh air and the wonders nature has to offer. But today was only the fifth day since we got clearance to walk, run or bike and already I noticed that there were less people on the streets. As if the novelty of going outside wore off by the end of the weekend.
I still have some hope that the streets were less crowded this morning because it was a Monday. There are a lot of people who work from home and maybe they like to get an early start. Hopefully there will be more walkers, runners and cyclists in the evening. If there is one thing I believe we should embrace, it’s this new way of looking at life, not through the windshield of a vehicle, a TV screen or a mobile device but physically, using all your senses to completely enjoy the experience. It will give you a newfound respect for nature, for how you treat your body, for life.
It’s the wind blowing at you from all directions, whispering in your ear; “Faster, faster, I know you can go faster, try to catch me if you can!”.
It’s the sense of power, pushing yourself to the limit, feeling how you master first one hill and then another and another until you have surmounted them all.
It’s the sense of freedom you feel flying down the roads. You are at the helm; you decide whether to turn right or left and when to head back home.
It’s the sense of balance, not only with the bicycle but an inner balance of the body and soul, everything is one and at peace.
It’s the complete sense of joy and accomplishment that comes with having conquered another ride, another challenge, another day.
I didn’t think I would have to write in my logbook again after the 2-week lockdown implemented by the government had concluded, so I had to take a day off to regroup when they prolonged the lockdown with 2 more weeks.
Since the amount of cases seem to be contained, I was certain that the lockdown would be lifted, or at least replaced by a much less severe shelter-in-place directive. It is what it is. At first I fumed and ranted at the TV screen, the Prime Minister receiving the brunt of my insults. But then I realized that I was behaving like a petulant child. This wasn’t a personal affront to my freedom; I wasn’t being punished. This was an all-out war against the Corona virus and drastic measures needed to be taken to safeguard our community. It hurt, it sucked, but it didn’t compare to the suffering other countries were going through and which was exactly what our government was trying to prevent from happening here.
It was time to ‘man-up’ and do my part to keep everyone safe instead of whining about mundane matters that are inconsequential in the big picture. So, I’ve decided to stop complaining. It doesn’t mean that from now on everything is going to be easy, or that I will no longer feel claustrophobic sitting at home. It just means that I’m not going to fight it or complain about it. All my emotions are free to wash over me and do their thing, but in the end I’m still going to be sitting at home as instructed by our Prime Minister, dealing with the ups and downs just like everyone else and count my blessings that I have a roof over my head to lockdown in.
There are other things pressing on my mind of course. I worry about my kids and what’s going to happen to their academic year. I worry that I might not have an income by the end of the month. I worry how our economy in general is going to survive this pandemic. These are all issues that will have to be dealt with sooner or later, but for now, none is more important than keeping my loved ones safe. If staying home for another couple of weeks is what it takes to guarantee their safety, then it will be worth it. Their life is more precious to me than my freedom…hopefully I’ll feel the same way in two weeks!
I’m not sure that I still have the energy to keep up this logbook on a daily basis, but I will try to at least write regular entries to keep you informed and keep me busy!
Today felt like a bucket of cold
water was doused on my head…another 2 weeks of lockdown. I had so hoped for
at least a bit of easing up of the measures.
It reminded me of back when the
kids were young and still spent every other weekend with their father. I would distribute
my patience just so, to last me for the two weeks before it was his turn to
pick them up and I could look forward to at least a weekend of quiet bliss.
Then, at the last minute, right before he’s supposed to pick them up, he would
sometimes call and cancel on me.
I felt like a balloon filled with
air that is suddenly let go before the knot was tied. All the air gushes out of
me and I spiral around and around in crazy circles until all the air is gone
and I land on the floor with a thud, completely spent.
That’s how I felt again today when
I heard we still can’t even leave the house to go for a walk outside. There are
no words. I have no backup plan and wasn’t prepared for this news. I’m
Thankfully, my mother has also
caught the ‘logbook writing bug’. She decided to fill in for me today. You can
clearly see where I get my writing abilities from. Hopefully my mood will
improve tomorrow, new day, new opportunities and all that. I leave you in good
Input by Martha Neuman (my mom):
From the perspective of our dog, a three-legged ‘Westpointer’ (stray) appropriately called Driepoot….
I truly don’t understand my
humans; for almost 2 weeks or its equivalent in dog-years, I have noted a
sudden and weird change in their daily behavior. They no longer wake up at the
regular time and when they do, they no longer get out of the yard so I can sprint
after their cars for a couple of hundred meters and get my daily exercise!
I have totally given up on them. Now I just hang around, nap on the front porch and for a bit of movement, I’ll sometimes scamper to the back porch and then nap some more. They have taken away my daily run but weirdly enough, I’ve noticed that most of the humans in my home are exercising daily as if there is no tomorrow. The one they call Tamara rides a stationary bike on the front porch (I can’t figure it out, the bike literally doesn’t go anywhere. I can’t chase it; what’s the fun in that?).
I’ve also seen her ride another bike, with fatter tires, in the front yard. She just kept going back and forth – I tried to chase her at first but there was no point because I was faster getting to the end of the yard; she ended up chasing me and that’s not what I signed up for so I stopped following her moves. The two younger looking humans; Alexine and Emyl I think they are called, although I’m not sure. It’s confusing to me because sometimes the one called Tamara calls them different things, Damn and Damnit I hear the most, but maybe it’s because of my sharp ears; she usually shouts when she uses those names. In any case they have also started a pattern of frantic exercise. Every…single…day. It’s exhausting just watching them, so naturally I take a nap while looking.
The two other inhabitants of my
home, called either Papa and Mama or Abe and Lita, depending on who talks to
them, are rather subdued and I don’t get to see much of them anymore.
Thankfully Papa/Abe still feeds me every night, so I at least see him at dinner
time (more importantly of course, is the fact that I get my dinner!).
What I really can’t understand is
this new flurry of activity in the kitchen. I hear them discussing culinary
terms and spy them preparing the most delicious smelling dishes, often for
hours on end. But when all the cooking is done and the kitchen is cleaned, all ‘yours
truly’ gets is his usual canine food. I mean, really? Come on humans, not even
scraps? It’s an abomination!
Another thing; I thought I had
this human talk down pat but for the past few weeks I’ve been hearing a lot of words
I’ve never heard before that sound like Chinese to me. I really don’t
understand what they mean, such as:
Quarantine: Is that what they are calling me know? They certainly use the name often enough…just when I got used to them calling me ‘Driepoot’.
Covid-19: Is that even a word? Perhaps a new brand of dog food? I hope not, if I’m not going to get any scraps, they can at least stick to my favorite brand of dog food that I’m used to. I’ll have to put my paw down on that one!
Outbreak: Come On peeps! When was the last time I actually broke out of the yard? You guys aren’t going anywhere for me to chase you remember?
Pandemic: I think this must be a kind of bread with no carbs.
Corona Virus: I think my humans are planning to adopt another dog, maybe a strange breed I’ve never heard of before. If that’s the case, I hope it is a male. Two bitches together in this crazy household would be disastrous to what is left of my peace of mind.
Isolation: I think this has to do with a lack of sunlight; they rarely leave the house anymore so they might be thinking of a device to bring more of the outside light inside the house.
Ventilator: This one I actually know but I mention it because it makes me wag my tail in excitement: it is a big fan they are going to install on the porch so I can enjoy my naps in a cool breeze.
Shelter in place: What? Are they thinking of turning our home into a shelter for stray dogs? Not on my watch! I’m willing to turn a blind eye for one extra dog, but a shelter full of strays, no way Hosey!
Social distancing: I’m pretty sure it is a new dance. That would explain the crazy back and forth movements of these humans lately.
Epidemiologist: (sometimes also called an Izzy) I don’t have a frigging idea what these words mean but I do know that at exactly 11:30 am each day, both names can be heard repeatedly on TV and my homies stay glued in front of this TV sometimes for over an hour. It must be a new series on Netflix…
There are more of these words, but
I can’t remember them just now, my mind is getting a bit fuzzy, it’s almost
time for dinner…where is Abe?
I truly wish everything would go back to normal, the silence outside is depressing. No cars honking in our neighborhood, no people walking and talking in the street or kids zooming by on their bikes for me to yap at, no scooters making their usual infernal sound trying to out-howl me, – there is literally not one reason for me to bark and show my homies that I am guarding our home. When this, whatever this is, is over, I will probably have forgotten how to bark.
I don’t even wiggle my tail anymore; there is no reason to (unless they are talking about the ventilator!).”
Today I gussied up; I put on my
earrings, sprayed some perfume and even applied some lipstick…okay lip gloss
but it’s still makeup. And to top it off…I wore a bra! It’s Easter after all;
no need to scare of the Easter Bunny!
We decided to move the car on the
street and use the open garage as our impromptu ‘outdoor brunch’ venue. We kept
it simple but nice, decorating the table with an actual tablecloth, using our
‘nice’ plates and silverware and adding a center piece made from garden
pickings. The small ‘buffet’ table on the side displayed our culinary
masterpieces (hey, we worked on them long enough, to us they were works of
At around noon we all finally sat
down for the feast. We counted our blessings and reminisced about previous
Easter celebrations and just enjoyed each other’s company. By 1:00 pm the
plates were devoured and washed, and everything was back in its place
(including my bra which I stuffed back in the drawer!). Easter was basically
We hurried to the TV room to watch
the much-anticipated Andrea Bocelli concert that had been advertised all week.
It was indeed impressive but lasted only about 20 minutes. We still had the
rest of the day to kill.
So, of course, back
to the kitchen we went to start on Monday’s lunch: the ‘hòfi’
beans we had peeled the other day. This is my mom’s specialty, so this time I
was her sous chef while she made her magic. She also decided to make a zucchini
bread while she was at it, then realized halfway through adding the ingredients
to the mixing bowl that there wasn’t enough zucchini and turned it into a zucchini/carrot
bread instead! You got to make do with what you have right? Besides, it’s all
good, the more veggies the better. It means that it can technically be
considered part of a balanced diet instead of a dessert!
The highlight of the evening was
when my daughter found out she won the last photo challenge of the week as
well. The theme was Easter and I must say, not just because she’s my daughter,
but I thought she came up with a darned cute idea and executed it perfectly.
She took a picture of the Easter Bunny having a ‘lockdown’ skype date. How
creative is that!
It’s the day before Easter Sunday.
There will be no egg hunt this year. Okay, to be fair, we wouldn’t have had an
egg hunt even without the lockdown; we are all grownups after all, but still,
we do celebrate Easter. Usually we either go to one of the brunches organized
by different hotels, or, if we are not too lazy, we do our own brunch at home.
This time we don’t really have a choice. Lazy or not, we will have to make the
best of it and celebrate at home.
I wasn’t really feeling it; this
second week of lockdown was taking its toll on me mentally and emotionally, but
my daughter had been looking forward to it. She wanted us to start prepping a
few of the dishes to speed up the work
so that the next day all we had to do was plate the cut up fruit and cold cuts,
pop the frittata and homemade bagels in the oven, set the table and enjoy our
brunch. I didn’t want to be a party pooper, so I donned my sous chef hat once
more, picked up the knife and sliced away (with a glove close by just in case…).
They say that when life brings you lemons you
make lemonade. Well, I’m not too sure about that, but in our case the ‘hòfi’ and local ‘toko’ brought us tamarind, ginger
and sweet bell peppers, so we made jam which came in handy for our brunch!
Survived another day but I’m
afraid I still don’t have anything insightful to share. It was a pretty straightforward
day. No excitement of leaving the house or groceries being delivered, it was
just another copy paste day. At least I spent it wearing my comfy pj’s.
Well, there was this one thing. I
never, ever thought these words would ever come out of my mouth…okay,
technically from my fingers out on the screen…but in any case, today we willingly,
I repeat, willingly/of our own accord, decided to give the house a good
clean up…just to pass the time! Everyone pitched in and we had the house
looking spic and span in no time…which was kind of a bummer, it was supposed to
keep us busy all day! We didn’t even have to worry about preparing lunch since
my daughter made an eggplant lasagna yesterday for us to eat today.
We’ve been prepping meals in
advance to make sure that especially the fresh produce doesn’t spoil before we
get a chance to eat it. This includes a lot of chopping by the sous chef (that’s
me if you remember correctly). Regretfully, I skipped the course on how to
safely cut your veggies. Thankfully, we have a box full of gloves which we are
supposed to use when going to the supermarket, but which I now use almost on a
daily basis to slip over whatever fresh cut I managed to beget on the cutting
board. If this lockdown lasts much longer I’m going to lose most if not all of
But, slicing and dicing has become
my middle name and I’m not going to let a few small cuts keep me from doing
what needs to be done. Sweet potato fries? Done! Diced onions, peppers and
tomatoes? Voila! Grated cheese? Ouch, damnit…pass me another glove will ya!
This morning I woke up with a
burning question. If you are on lock down by yourself, does that mean you don’t
need to use deodorant? I mean, who is going to complain about the smell? That’s
a bit extreme of course, but I do wonder how many dress-up rituals have been
set aside. If you take a sneak peek at our laundry for example, you will notice
that our household has already established a shorts, t-shirts and pj’s dress
code. Also, the men have unanimously decided that since they can’t get a
haircut, shaving is optional too, while the women have thrown caution to the
wind along with their bras!
It was therefore a hot topic when
our Prime Minister appeared at the press release with a fresh new haircut.
Speculations ran rampant; his wife probably did it for him, he shaved it off
himself, no, he had a barber do it with clippers attached to a 2-meter pole!
Point being, most of us are no
longer stressing out or bothering with the time consuming task of putting on
makeup or dressing up to the nines just to strut around the house and it makes
me wonder if by the end of the Corona era, people’s perception of beauty will
have changed. Will we all just pick up where we left off and run to the latest ‘luscious
lashes’ mascara isle or are we going to embrace the way we look, sans make-up,
hairdo or fancy clothing? I’m hoping we find a midway point. A balance between wearing
something you like and feeling great about it without any pressure of having to
follow the latest fashion. I’m also hoping the new trend will be shorts, shirts
and pj’s, that way I win either way!
This is what eleven days of being
inside the house does to the mind. I’m sure I’ll have something more insightful
to talk about tomorrow. It’s going to be an exciting day; I’m going to do the laundry, which means I’ll be able to wear my
favorite daytime pj’s again!
I can’t believe it! Yesterday I was in such a philosophical mood about the perception of time that I forgot to mention the most important highlight of the day. And it’s not about a workout this time. I’ve actually decided to skip the ‘wake-up and train’ routine breakdown from now on; it’s become repetitive even for an exercise junkie like me! So, moving on to other topics…yesterday…
I LEFT THE HOUSE…IN MY CAR!!!
My license plate letter was up and
after avoiding going to the supermarket for over a week, I took the plunge
yesterday. Well, more like a splash than a plunge since I pre-ordered my groceries
for curbside pickup! But still…I LEFT THE HOUSE…IN MY CAR! It felt weird at
first, I had to get used to my car again and the streets were like Sunday-morning-empty,
which was even weirder since it was lunch-time rush hour by the time I hit the
road. Still, it felt good to leave the house for a bit and I enjoyed the
freedom of driving on the streets of Curaçao. I got a power kick out of it and
felt like the queen of the road. My hand itched to give my fellow drivers a
Sadly, the ride was over too soon while the curbside pickup itself took longer than I had anticipated (almost an hour, after they were the ones who informed me my supplies were ready for pick up) but the service was nice enough, which made up for the wait (kind of, but not really). There is something to be said about communication and buying groceries that a stranger picked out for you based on the list you wrote down, teaches you a thing or two about communicating properly.
So, I now have to figure out what I’m going to do with a can of Brussel sprouts I had hoped would be fresh ones and look up a recipe for the smoked salmon that was supposed to be salmon filets for Friday’s lunch. I also have an additional can of baking powder I have not much use for while I am still out of baking soda…but other than that, all was good, which means my communication skills aren’t that bad…unless you count the misunderstanding with the police, but I’m not going to get into that! (just kidding, there was no misunderstanding with the police…or was there?)
Now back to today. Since the start
of the lockdown, I’ve been thinking about the parents with young children and
how difficult it must be for them to keep the kiddos entertained all day long.
It’s not an easy task and I must admit that I was really glad that my kids are
grownups that can pretty much entertain themselves. I didn’t have to worry
about cleaning up messy little hands full of paint or mud…or so I thought; I
forgot to take into account having a creative grown child in the house.
So far, my daughter’s enrollment in the online photography contest has left me with achy fingers from being pricked by thorns while holding branches this way and that, dirty nails from having to dig up mud and a paint splattered back that took me about an hour to scrub off. Taking a picture of an inanimate object is apparently not good enough according to my daughter and since the photographer can’t photograph herself, she needs a model (read: guinea pig).
It suddenly dawns on me why I’m being pampered with those lovingly prepared yogurt bowls…it’s still a good deal though. I just hope tomorrow’s theme isn’t water because odds are that I’ll end up head under in a bucket of water! I also must admit that the pictures turned out pretty cool, so I guess I’ll have to suck it up and indulge her crazy ideas, or even better, I’ll pay my son to be the guinea pig, oops I mean model.
I’d like to give a shout-out to all parents and their heroic efforts at keeping their little ones occupied and happy; you are doing an awesome job!
Nine in the morning seems to have
become my new official wake up time, regardless of the alarm clock. I still set
it religiously for 6:00 am but I can’t muster up the will to let go of my
pillow. To my body and its new internal clock, the most logical course of
action apparently, is to turn off the alarm, dive deeper under the covers and
continue sleeping. No biggie; it’s not like I’m going to get fired for being
late for work!
Speaking of time, going into this
second week of the lockdown I noticed that my perception of time has completely
changed. In the pre-Corona era, I was always in a rush, just like almost
everybody else I suppose. There was never enough time to do or finish anything
and whatever I did do, it was always done haphazardly or in a hurry to get to
the next task or before heading for work. But now, I have nothing but time. The
day still comprises of 24 hours but there is no reason to stick to our pre-set
doctrine of waking up, eating or sleeping at a specific time. There is nowhere
to rush off to; time has become obsolete.
Today for example,
we ate lunch at about three in the afternoon and we lingered at the table for
almost an hour. I’m sure that this forced 24/7 togetherness will eventually
start fraying our nerves and lead to conflicts and outbursts, but up till now
I’m pleasantly surprised with the way we are all working together (or keeping
out of each other’s hair). The kitchen especially is always full of activity,
like a synchronized ballet dance; while one person is slicing and dicing, the
other is searing or frying and yet another is washing and drying.
Today’s dance was titled: ’Papaya
Stewousky’ (with the fresh green papayas from the ‘hòfi’). Just imagine the scene
from ‘Ratatouille’, with all the rats working together in sync (not that I’m
comparing my family with rats…although we are probably snacking through the day
much like them!).
I now take my sweet old time to do things and
since I’ve determined that time is obsolete, I’ve also decided that I have the prerogative
to complete (or not) certain chores at an unspecified time simply because…I
I was not kidding
about going vertical! I’ll admit that the morning got off to a slow start; I
didn’t actually get out of bed until 9:00 am, but once up, I was on a roll. My
only horizontal moment of the day was during the Press Release, after that I
was back at it. The kids and I kicked off with a joint exercise routine and the
rest of the day’s activities included cooking and cleaning (the chef called in
her chips; she had online classes today, so I had full kitchen duty) and
prepping for tomorrow’s lunch.
I also joined my
daughter in her hunt for ‘photogenic’ flowers, for an online competition she
enrolled in and I miraculously also got in some writing.
But the highlight of the day was
definitely when ‘Dani’s fruits and veggies’ van stopped at our house to deliver
our order. It felt like a party. We got a box full of gorgeous produce and we
oohed and aahed at each and every one before carefully stowing them in the
refrigerator. What an excitement! Who would have ever thought that unpacking broccoli
and kale could make you leap for joy?
My mother is the queen of online
shopping and not being able to order the latest gadgets, shoes, clothes and
whatnots from Amazon has not deterred her from doing what she loves to do. She
just switched to grocery online shopping instead and is having a ball making
lists and ordering from any and all supermarkets that have delivery service. In
turn, having a wide variety of vegetables to choose from has amped up our cooking
game! We have been eating a lot healthier since the start of the lockdown,
well…except for the occasional cakes, cookies and flans made by our pastry chef
(read, my mother) that have also become part of our new meal plan.
Later in the day we got an
unexpected delivery! My father has been unable to go to his ‘hòfi’
and the guy taking care of the ‘hòfi’ brought him a crate full of pickings
that included some sweet potatoes, papaya and ‘bonchi di kunuku’ (homegrown
beans). If it had been a few weeks ago that my dad brought home the beans, we
would have all scattered and disappeared to avoid being called upon to peel the
beans. Now we almost fought for the privilege of undertaking this mundane but
time killing task!
Two hours later, my mother and I proudly added our
last peeled beans to the plastic container. Voilà, our work was done!
No need to copy paste today; my morning routine was
definitely different from the rest of the week. It was the weirdest thing
really. For some reason, I couldn’t sleep last night. I’m not talking about a
fitful sleep with much tossing and turning; I literally did not sleep at all
until morning. First, I scrolled through Insta. Then I remembered that a friend
had sent me a link where you could watch free foreign films. It had a list of about
ten movies to choose from, bringing the ‘Film Festival’ experience to your home.
I binge watched four movies on my phone without dozing off once, and when I
glanced at my watch it was past 5:30 am; my alarm would go off any minute now,
but I still had some hope that I could catch at least a few hours of sleep, so
I made the executive decision to turn off the alarm clock and dove back under
It kind-of worked; I woke up at 9:30 am. But my routine had
once again been disrupted and it made my entire system go on strike. I didn’t
feel like exercising or even walking in the yard. I decided instead to dub this
day: ‘Horizontal Sunday’. My daughter was kind enough to fix me another one of
her fab yogurt bowls and brought me breakfast in bed (I’m not going to think
about the huge debt I’ve accumulated with this service and will simply deal
with it when she ultimately calls in her chips). I enjoyed my bowl of goodness
while watching yet another movie on the list. I didn’t even bother to pause the
film to follow the Press Release, which was a good thing because apparently it
only lasted about 4 minutes.
I’ve had a ‘no TV
in my bedroom’ policy for almost 20 years and I’ve never regretted it until the
lockdown. I will deny ever having said this, but for the first time I’m
starting to miss not having a TV in my room. I’ve had to make do with watching
movies on my phone or laptop and it especially made my ‘Horizontal Sunday’
tricky because I had to actually walk to the TV room before I could crash on
the sofa, completely undermining my new ‘Horizontal Sunday’ decree.
But apart from those few steps to the sofa, it wasn’t until lunch that I officially sat up and deliberately walked towards the kitchen. I played nice as acting sous chef but as soon as I was done with the cutting, slicing and dicing, I covertly made my way to the sofa and settled back in my horizontal position for a Netflix session.
This time it was my son who acted as the designated waiter, bringing me my lunch; frittata accompanied by oven roasted bell peppers, the chef is really outdoing herself! I made a halfhearted attempt at sitting up straight but ended up eating at a 45-degree angle. Before even swallowing the last bite, my body slumped back into the horizontal position. I really wanted to get up and move at a certain point, or at least, that’s what my mind kept telling my body, but my limbs had their own agenda and didn’t budge. By almost 7:00 pm I finally managed to win the battle against the sofa. I got up, forced myself to go out in the yard and walked back and forth a few times to get the blood circulation going. Ten minutes in and I had had enough. I took a shower and answered the sofa’s call. I watched the news and then finally gave up on Sunday altogether and went to bed where I’m currently located, once more horizontally, back propped on a pillow and my laptop on, well, my lap! It was hard for me to write today’s entry. My regular Sundays are so completely different from this Covid19-induced-lockdown-Sunday that I didn’t know how to fill my day. I spent this entire week at home without even going to the supermarket as we had ordered groceries online and were okay on supplies. But at least I knew I had the option of going to the supermarket or the pharmacy if I really needed to. Today I didn’t have that option. Sunday, a day I usually look forward to because of its limitless options has suddenly become a tediously long and boring day. But I survived it and tomorrow is another day; I’m ready to go vertical!
I might as well start to copy paste at this point…so, yeah, you guessed it. Alarm went off at six, I woke up at 7:30. Walked around the house weighing my options. Should I do the treadmill again today or maybe the rower? I definitely wasn’t feeling the stationary bike; it makes me yarn too much for the outdoors. I’m afraid that instead of getting on the bike I would yank it from the standard and try to flee outside.
…Okay, the rower it is…
But then I suddenly remembered that my swim group organized a zoom meeting for 8 am (our regular swim time) to catch up on what everyone was doing since we couldn’t meet up for our weekly swim. I donned my cap and goggles just for kicks and ‘zoomed’ in. It was nice to see everyone again and to chat, but it was also a bit painful; I really miss the ocean. We talked for about an hour, signed off and I picked up my new daily routine where I had left off, which was with me just about to jump on the rower.
Afterwards I did a few push-ups to finish my exercise quota for the day, then quickly hit the shower and planted myself in front of the TV with another bowl of goodness prepped by my daughter, just in time for the day’s press release. (I’m slightly starting to worry about her increasing kindness, it could be that she has an ulterior motive, or that she noticed that her mother is finally losing it. I’m not sure which scenario is worse!)
They didn’t have much to report today. It was over just as I finally got all comfy on the sofa (after slowly squeezing my daughter off of it).
Time for lunch. Today’s special was oven roasted sweet peppers prepared by our new in-house chef; my daughter. By now we have all fallen into a certain routine with everyone adhering to their specific task and specialty. My daughter does most of the cooking and I do the cleanup during and after meals. I also step in as sous chef once in a while.
My mother does the baking for our dessert of the day (today it was lemon cake, very tasty and lemony!) My son takes out the trash, waters the plants and handles all chores that require strength or involve lifting anything, and my father is the official taster of all foods prepared! It’s a pretty good system that seems to be working so far.
I finished my day by
taking my mountain-bike for a very, very short spin in the front yard, followed
by a ‘walk-a-thon’ consisting of 10 circles around the house, whereby my father
acted as the official counter and triumphantly waved a white flag (read
crumpled up napkin) at the end of my last lap. It almost felt like crossing the
finish line at a triathlon…almost.
And I’m back! I’m not great, but I am good, which is more
than I can hope for. Yesterday evening I had a long phone conversation with my
best friend. We usually meet up for coffee at least once a week to catch up on
gossip or talk about everything and nothing, but of course, we haven’t been
able to continue our coffee ritual since the introduction of the first
quarantine measures about two weeks ago, banning people from meeting in public
places. It wasn’t until we spoke on the phone that I realized how therapeutic those
coffee talks had been.
I can almost visualize myself at one of my favorite coffee
hangouts sitting at a cozy table for two, holding my hot cup of coffee in both
hands and inhaling the earthy aroma of the beans while the heat from the mug spreads
slowly from my fingers to warm up the rest of my body. But it wasn’t just about
the coffee; while we sat there and sipped our cappuccino, we would take this
time to talk about whatever had been
bothering us that day or week without judgement, just an opportunity to let it
all out and blow off some steam. So, this time we did it by phone. We ranted
and raved about the lockdown, the stupidity of some people and the admirable in
others, we laughed at stupid jokes and almost cried at the injustice of it all.
After talking for over an hour, the world did not magically right itself, in
fact, nothing had changed but I for one did at least feel a bit better. I could
still talk and laugh with my best friend, it didn’t matter that it was by phone,
while drinking lukewarm instant coffee.
So, yes, I’m back and I woke up fully revitalized (well, I still killed the alarm at 6 and slept till 8 but, I did wake up energized!). The new me, decided to take on the day with much ‘joie de vivre’, inventing all sorts of chores to keep me busy.
I scrubbed the kitchen rugs, changed and washed all the bed linens then jumped on the treadmill for an hour. I was midway through my run, when the most wonderful thing happened…my mind started to wander as it usually does when I’m outdoors on the bike. When this happens, my creative side suddenly fires up, words and sentences take form in my head and it becomes a race to keep it all in there till I get back home to put it down on paper.
I grabbed my phone to dictate my main idea on the voice recorder, but I wasn’t wearing my reading glasses and couldn’t see crap on the screen. I was torn; should I stop running and go write, simply because I could, or should I finish my run first, then go write and hope I don’t forget the gist of the story?
Any sane person would say, ‘go write!’, but then again, that person obviously doesn’t understand the complex and intricate inner-workings of my lunatic mind! To me, stopping would have meant deviating from the norm and this was the first time in a long time that something finally felt like ‘the norm’.
I wouldn’t have been able to step off the bike to write, so in my mind, I should stick to that principle. What did I decide to do, you might ask? Well, let’s just say that what I’m writing right now wasn’t exactly what I had planned to write, but I think I at least did get the gist of it!