Meme 2020

Crazy Month of May

Cassmob suggested this meme to preserve our experiences during the Covid-19 crisis. Here are my responses.

What are you most grateful for during this covid-19 crisis?
I am so lucky to live in a comfortable home with no debts, secure income and a life partner whose company I enjoy.

What have you missed most during the full or partial lock-down?
Every morning at 7.15 am we would go to aquafit with a group of like minded seniors in the heated outdoor pool at the University of Wollongong. The walk to the pool, the exercise class and the coffee and chat afterwards got me out of bed, even on the coldest mornings, and kept me reasonably fit and healthy.

Has your hobby sustained you during this time?
One of my hobbies is writing and I found over the month of April the A to Z Blogging Challenge kept me busy. As a result I continued my blog (a fictional version of my family history) every Monday in May and kept a few chapters ahead in my writing. I have become quite obsessed with it and it leads me along many paths as I research the past.

What changes have you seen in your life over May 2020?
Although I miss my morning swim I find I walk more in the local area than before. We have walked all over the Botanic Gardens, the university grounds, the top of Mt Keira and along the Wollongong beaches. I have missed seeing my grandchildren and children although we had a social distancing barbecue in the National Park a couple of weeks ago.

Have you been exercising more or less?
I would say it is about the same. I’m doing an exercise class on Zoom from the university three days a week and walking every day. Occasionally I get out my bike. I’ve also been doing more gardening than usual.

Has the refrigerator been your friend or foe?
No problems from the fridge except it broke down and we had to get a new one. I’ve been making my own bread and biscuits which results in eating more of both so I have put on weight.

Have you been participating in virtual gatherings with friends or family?
Friends have been contacting us on FaceTime which has been nice. My grandchildren also chat regularly on FaceTime. I have avoided Zoom meetings with friends as I find chatting in large groups difficult. I much prefer to talk to people face to face.

Have you taken up new hobbies during the lockdowns?
I can’t think of anything new that I wasn’t doing before.

Are you cooking or gardening more?
I’ve always cooked most meals so that hasn’t changed. As I said before the bread making is probably the only thing I am doing more of and unlike before I am making it from scratch and not using the packet bread mixture as it wasn’t available. I’m doing more gardening because it is overgrown and my husband likes my company when he is out there chopping.

Have you shopped more or less? Online or offline?
I do an online grocery shop once a week which is delivered to our front door. Previously I would shop in different supermarkets several times a week. I still shop for odd things I have run out of but limit my time in stores as there are too many people in there. I have ordered some things online but not much more than usual. When our fridge stopped working I bought a new one online, had it delivered, installed and the old one taken away without leaving my house.

What have you found to be the strangest change to your life?
Avoiding people is the biggest change. I now see people as potential carriers of the virus so keep well away from everyone. Even when friends organise lunch together which we are now able to do I don’t go, just in case.

Have you found the changes and experience stressful/anxious/worrying?
As a person who finds being sociable only comfortable in short bursts I have found staying home with my husband quite pleasant and not all that different to life before Covid. I am not usually an anxious person but my husband’s health has caused me more concern than Covid.

How have the closures affected your local community?
We live near a university so the local community of students has been greatly affected. Many of the share houses are empty and the university grounds are deserted except for those workers on a new construction site. The gym and pool are closed but outside exercise classes for small groups are starting up. The local small shops seem to be doing reasonably well as many people prefer to use them rather than the bigger supermarkets in town.

Have in-person meetings been replaced with virtual meetings via Zoom, Skype etc?
I am retired so my only meetings are for social purposes. Our doctor’s visits are sometimes over the phone and one specialist used FaceTime. We both prefer face to face visits to discuss important issues.

Do you enjoy the virtual meeting format?
The only time I use Zoom is for our exercise class and I find it difficult to chat to others before the class begins. I don’t like talking in large groups anyway and much prefer small groups of two or three.

Are you working from home instead of in your usual place of work?
I’m not working as I am retired so this question does not apply to me.

Have your habits changed over the past months?
They have changed more because my husband is recovering from surgery so we make sure he gets his daily exercise walking around the neighbourhood. I’ve been getting up later in the morning except when the exercise class is on. We haven’t been eating out at restaurants or going to the cinema or plays, not that we did that very often, anyway. We haven’t been driving to visit the children and grandchildren. We haven’t been inviting people over for barbecues. I’ve been reading about the same as before and have not increased my TV viewing.

Have you had to cancel travel plans for pleasure or family?
We had a holiday booked for June. It was two weeks in Sicily followed by a gulet (traditional boat) cruise from Dubrovnik to Split in Croatia. I was so looking forward to it. We lost quite a lot of money over it as I mainly booked non refundable accommodation. We have a credit for the cruise but whether we’ll be able to use it I don’t know. We also have a credit with Qantas for the air travel. At least we can use that in Australia. The only consolation, if you can call it that, is that we would not have been able to go with my husband’s health problems anyway. What we can claim from insurance, if anything, is another concern.

Do you think you’ll be able to travel in 2020?
Any travel will be in our own state of NSW. We hope to visit family and friends but are still very nervous of a Covid flare up or “second wave”. We have a caravan but my husband is not keen to commit to driving any distance for a while so I would have to take over some of the driving with the van which I’m not particularly keen to do. We are planning a short trip away without the van, staying in an apartment so we can self cater.

Have you/others been wearing masks when out and about in your area?
The mixed messages here about wearing face masks are not encouraging so we have not used them. I did make myself a cloth one when they were in short supply and took it to the hospital when I visited my husband but didn’t use it. A friend visited her mother in hospital and was told to go away and return without the mask as it indicated she was sick. If I was on a train or bus I would use it but I don’t intend to travel that way for some considerable time.

Will you change your lifestyle after this experience?
I probably will not be travelling overseas again for a long time (we used to go on an overseas trip every year). I’ll probably be more careful about washing hands than I used to be. I will probably schedule more regular visits to see the grandchildren and my children and have them come here to stay more often. There are encouraging signs that our state might be Covid free soon because we have had a few days with no new cases. We recently had thousands of people marching for “Black Lives Matter” in Australia so I feel it is a good litmus test for whether it is safe to venture out. I’ll wait another ten days and see what happens.

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