Days of a Plague Day 15, April 9 - Day 21, April 15

Day 15, April 9. Sunset has been beautiful almost every night. It's facile to say the reduction in traffic/industry causes it, but I can't help remembering the weather pre-2000, an arbitrary year, but it's when I noticed life in New Zealand was changing so quickly towards the thing-centric society we thought we left behind. Also sunsets were sensational more often until a little after 2000. Then again, particles in the air makes lovely sunsets; someone said sunsets in the African savanna are anticlimactic because the air is clean and the sun just drops.

I got fed up not getting things done I changed into gardening clothes in the morning. I knew I'd miss Jacinda's 1PM update, but I was fed up by me, and since I didn't have a better idea, out I went to clean the patio. As has become the pattern, I got a fraction of what I'd hoped done, but still, it's more than nothing, and I'll finish the rest tomorrow.

Ben's cup/cheesecake tasted delicious afterwards.
Day 16, April 10. Start of Ben's Easter Holiday. I had an ultra slow start to the day. While I scrolled down the page looking at the latest numbers and the curves on graphs, I heard the warm sound of a handsaw, starting tentatively, (though this whoever not as tentative as I,) then steadily and fast, then slowing down before stopping. Usually. Round two started at top speed, continuous sans rhythm, I wasn't sure if it was a handsaw, but it finished in the familiar way. Building/fixing? Pruning?

We thought to tackle the top branches of the Pohutukawa for better sunset-viewing, but tidied closer to the ground far longer than we planned before Ben started on said branches. Ben stood on the stairway reaching out but we may have gotten one-third or one-half at best, more on the right side. We still may get better sunsets but probably not the last bit. Shall wait until tomorrow; I weeded underneath until it was too dark to see, while Ben cooked dinner; we can only assume tonight's was another fabulous show.
(Sunset, Day 15)
Day 17, April 11. (Photo taken on Day 18.) Ben had a second go, standing on the steps and chomping at the taller branches of Pohutukawa, as well as pruning many others around it, the reasons for which were not exactly clear to me, but hey, we were outside doing something, weren't we? The weather was sunny but cool/warm and at different times we counted four or five other families outside doing similar.

I, on the other hand, worked on taking as much of the lilac bush as possible, a near-annual event. It used to flower beautifully, then suddenly mildew took over. For almost a decade I dug up the smaller shoots and cut the larger branches to the ground in the autumn, hoping the new shoots will be healthy; they were at the start, but inevitably got covered in the same white stuff. Nothing around is has been affected, though. Phew.

This year I'm taking out as much as possible, which is a delicate job because it's at the top of a small bank and if I dig too wide the bank may crumble, but if I leave too much, or any, the cycle will continue. (I saw the same mildew this fall on my zucchini and nearly 30 cherry tomatoes, the latter lot yielding exactly zero fruits.)

I, on my third day of "pottering around" have had such awkward muscle pains that when I wanted to kneel/get up, I first had to resolve to do it, make a strategic plan, observe the surrounds, renew my resolve, voice my intentions loudly, and finally, do it. Half of it is plain aches caused by normally dormant muscles revolting, half age, but the third half is caused by an "old injury".

Ben and I used to assume when folks mentioned "old injury" they must have been elite athletes. Well, apparently not so. Mine comes from running in the rain in 2006 and slipping and falling backwards;  Ben's from way back in 2002 when he had got a cut in the arm in a car accident. We both sought adequate medical attention at the time, but felt, "Meh, the rest will heal naturally."

Not so! Mine came back in 2014 one Sunday evening when suddenly I couldn't stand up. I spent two and a half years being seen by a GP, physiotherapists, acupuncturists, a Bowen technique therapist, (who told me she couldn't fix it,) an osteopath who charged me mega$ to chat about his idealistic country living, maybe a couple more, before I gave up. Strange thing about my injury was, I was fine standing up and walking, but I could not stay seated, go up and down stairs, and sometimes the right hip suddenly gave out, and the throbbing kept me awake. Strangely it hasn't been as dire since I stopped going to medical professionals, but I suspect I walk differently now, different from how I used to, still different from the eight years I didn't pay attention to it. But there is no double it's put a giant damper on how I view my abilities, or limitations, as regards physical activities.

Ben most noticeably could not handle the vibration of the weed whacker after a while and stopped whacking the already-lamentably neglected patch under the apple trees.

Though we've always been avid great indoors types, we did go outside more often in the past, and working in our respective patches yesterday we reflected on that. I'm not sure if we "enjoy" gardening, but get a tremendous sense of accomplishment observing the aftermath of deforestation,  birds squawking above us like the seagulls in "Finding Nemo".

And then we look around and observe the vastness of our estate, and sulk a bit.
Day 18, April 12. Today was a real non-day. Rain was forecast for some time, but until mid-afternoon it was a cycle of sun and shower. I wanted to weed/decommission the remainder of the pots and finish cleaning the patio, a job I started on Thursday before I was deployed to the north/west quadrant. I planned to get my rain gear and go outside after I cleaned the kitchen, but by then the gray had set in.

The rest of the day was cloudy, moist or wet, and I honestly can't remember what I did. I really don't want to loose the gardening momentum now.

Thunderstorm and wind was forecast for tonight, but so far the worst we're getting is an occasional dose of film set rain.
Day 19, April 13, Ben's 57th. When asked if I should put my effort into cake or a meal today, Birthday Boy contemplatively replied, "cupcakes". Cupcakes!? Just when I thought I knew everything about this boy.

Another weird weather day: sun/wind/sun/wind/dark clouds/sun/dark clouds/wind, and rain. Restless. The sun was warm, the wind cold, winter is coming. Except today was all about waiting for cupcakes. Ben reworked the metal mesh for the coffee roaster; I cleaned the kitchen and lined up the ingredients; too cold/windy for bean roasting, Ben did something else; I did laundry; then we found a sunny spot on the carpet, and lay down and checked Facebook.

Finally we tackled another batch of cupcakes, really just spicy cakes made in cupcake molds, another never-to-be-repeated recipe, today with three double shots of espresso. Ben instructed, I assisted, the cakes came out moist, toffee-smelling, and nutmeggy. Yum.

I thought of running out to weed the pots, but hey, today's Ben's day; I was happy to go along with whatever he wanted to do, at his leisurely pace. And it was a totally slow leisurely day.
Day 20, April 14. Sunny, chilly and windy, we have the first snow on the hills. As well, fifth and last day of Easter Break, interesting how naturally we slipped into holiday mode; after leisurely perusal of the news/numbers/curves, fragmented discussions, and forgettable breakfasts, I've established a pattern of embarking on cleaning the kitchen somewhere mid-late mornings. Sorry today was the last such.

The temperature called for spicy slow cooking, so in spite of full intentions of weeding in the afternoon when the wind settled, of invitations by art institutions' children's education Youtube channels to show signs of life in the right hemisphere, I cooked standing up until such time that Ben sauntered into the kitchen asking what's for dinner. Results: bacon/onion/lentil thing V2, steamed rice, and unphotogenic but piquant onion chutney. Slow cooking does not always indicate the time required for the ingredients to, er, cook, I guess.

Yes, the simple onion, because I remembered we are not to hoard under the current regime and onions were about the only produce, (besides dried beans,) we have in abundance. But also harvested a couple of nice feijoa recipes for when our always-tardy fruits come a-dropping, and ideas for rehydrated dried fruits, which opens up a universe of possibilities beyond a chutney galley. Blessed are friends who cook.

Ben has a flu jab first thing tomorrow morn.
Day 21, April 15. One day is looking a lot like another, except the weather, and what we cook. I don't know if I expect something to happen, but still every day I feel like we're on hold.

With Week 3 finished, there have been talk of whether the lockdown will be over next week, and if so, what happens next. It shouldn't bother me either way, I just go back to my own isolated life.

I've tried to get my right-hemisphere fired up, but haven't succeeded yet. Tomorrow!


Days of a Plague Day 8, April 2 - Day 14, April 8

Day 8, April 2. I don't know where the days go, but I finished these three I started yesterday. Take that, Virus; one of a kind handwoven masks!

And now we have far more masks than we'll need in the next 20 years, but Ben wants a couple of more from a particular fabric. I'm regrettably delaying weeding for one more day.

I realized I was missing a form from the Japanese Pension office due sometime around now, so did a whole lot of looking things up, ranting, pacing, and soliciting trusted cousin and her husband's help. In the end, I rang the Pension folks in Japan and as usual they gave me great, decisive answers. Too bad they don't communicate over the net. Ben's right; Pension folks are superb because they have to deal with dotty old folks every day.

Also found out I have to keep filing tax returns even though I'm retired because I "ran a business at a loss" for... ever. I might look into filing myself and dislodge myself from the accountants, but, gee, that's another task that will involve a lot of ranting and pacing. Maybe just looking it up this year and trying it out next year.

Do I make my life unnecessarily complicated? Today was completely like non-lockdown, just a normal frustrating 21C day. But opera was lovely.
Day 9, April 3. Beautiful day. We had dinner with friends, and had a really lovely time. Although some of us, (me), talked too much, and some of us, (me), shared some evil and morbid thoughts, we also laughed a lot. I did little else today but cook, (and got a glimpse into the instragram mentality,) and chase more news, but it was still a good day.

In fact, I'm all laughed out, I can't think of anything else tonight. So from us to you, good night.
Day 10, April 4. Last night's dinner was delightful; yesterday was so saturated. But other than yesterday, one day is starting to look like any other. Which is pretty much my normal life, but with Ben home every day, I have to ask if today/tomorrow is work day. Several times a day.

It doesn't help that I'm still on sewing duty. I was so unmotivated I couldn't finish, so I'll give it one more day for closure.

I'm also unable to concentrate on anything, even washing dishes, without taking numerous "short" breaks to gaze at the screen. Which makes the days diluted and bland. Even two operas, one French play and many French readings in one day can't make up for a more proactive life. I didn't even finish my first cup of coffee.

Let tomorrow be less this normal and be the other normal.
Day 11, April 5. I was finally relieved of mask duties. The delay was my fault; the first Tardis masks were not high/tall (?) enough they covered either Ben's nose or chin but not both. Now he has two in the right size, plus two in black that look really sharp.

On our way to the supermarket I asked Ben to drive past Volume. It was there, charming, full of promises, unharmed, but books usually stacked attractively on a large table at the front were covered with a cloth, the table pulled towards the back. A wee wicker lamp emitted a small yellow light in the almost-sunset. The books held their breath.

I say my life hasn't changed, and at home this is true. Volume has changed, though; its esprit on hold unless or until... And if I were to be completely honest, that moment was the first I realized the magnitude of sacrifices required of this lockdown.
Day 12, April 6. When reading about lockdowns in other countries, before New Zealand started our own, I imagined our days of the Plague to be memorable, that scenes will be imprinted in saturated colors, I would be in a heightened state of awareness, and I would later recall stories in vivid detail.

It hasn't been like that. The days are murky. I try to keep abreast of the ever-changing rules; I watch two updates every day. I keep an eye on the numbers, though they lost meaning a while back. I'm pretty sure I'm doing this right, but I can't move on to doing normal things, like projects.

Of course, it is better this way, than something catastrophic happening, to us or the country, which in these circumstances is eminently possible.

I'm blathering. I can't bring myself to reread what I've written tonight. I hope I wake up tomorrow morning, ready to tackle something.

PS. We-are-not-there-yet/Reactionary/Bloody Bloomfield on Slate.com in a positive light. Let him be struck by lightening after this is over and when Jacinda doesn't need him daily. 

Day 13, April 7. In our 25 years in New Zealand, we bought hot cross buns fewer than five times. Funny how one develops a hankering as soon as there is a perception these are harder to get.

Today I blogged. I chose it over tidying the patio and weeding the pots because the weather looked iffy. Turns out I could have done the outside job just fine, but I chose to blog. Though it feels wrong by societal standards, it was just as important to me, I've been intending to do it, it was a hard job, and I chose it, and I'm glad. Tomorrow, something else.

And didn't that half a bun with butter taste good!
Day 14, April 8. End of Week 2, and according to the initial plan, halfway point of official lockdown. I was in the kitchen for an awfully long time, washing things. I didn't cook, only assembled another lasagna and a salad; finished a jar of Simple (Minded) Pickles, so why four here? I am exhausted.

The quiet is nice. Even though it's interrupted by the occasional vehicles near and far, (surprising how much of it there is,) power tools, lawn mowers, shouting, the usual stuff. But it's quiet more of the time than not. I may be hearing the birds more, but I could be imagining it, too.

I wonder if I'm the only person in the world who wouldn't mind the lockdown lasting a little longer, for me, for the planet. Wuhan reopened.


Days of a Plague Day 1, March 26 - Day 7, April 1

Day 1, March 26. Surprisingly a lot of traffic, and of course, power tools.

We've been ready for the official lockdown for a long time. We've cooked dinners to freeze, bought one extra of dry ingredients, (oh-so-much beans!), stocked up on loo paper and soap and disinfectants a little at a time, although some dinners and special naughty treats have disappeared before we began.

I also built a list of Plague projects, which is completely silly because lockdown is not changing my regular life. I can't go outside the house, into town, see friends, and some say only one person is allowed even in the car to go to the supermarket for one person to shop, 2m away, etc. Ben being home all day, with lunch, we are eating better, so we'll definitely need to devise some kind of an exercise regime.

Lockdown officially started at midnight last night. I was almost elated yesterday because I could finally stop worrying we weren't doing it soon enough. But today, there was no more preparation required, we have so much food, and suddenly I was completely exhausted and needed a nap.

Ben's sticking to his regular routine. Good for him.

I got some leftover cotton fabric so I can try making cloth masks. I might try making some out of my cotton weaving samples as well; somewhere in the stash room there are heaps more. Or continue trying to reorganize the yarn stashes. Or work on a simple woodcut or lino print. Or, you know, weed or weave.

I've seen a lot of recommendation for folks to keep a Plague diary. I'm not sure if/how I'm going to do this, but for now I'll try to post a pic a day on Facebook just so I have something I do daily. Which I don't have in my usual life. Interesting times.
Day 2, March 27. We had crazy weather today, blindingly sunny one minute, roof-caving-in rain shower the next. I wanted to make the masks but the kitchen, where I set up the sewing machine, was too dark even with all the lights, so I continued cleaning the closet/stash room. Long story; even longer process. Towards the evening the temperature dropped Ben wanted the first fire of the winter. It's still March so it's the earliest in the 23 years in this house; previous record was April 9, in 2009, which was still quite early.

Still an annoying amount of traffic noise including the airport, but I heard something in the late afternoon I hadn't heard in a long, long time; that overwhelming, thick, heavy, silence. It was almost scary the first time we "heard" it at a B&B somewhere in the country, Napier? all those years ago. Then every time we went into the country. But how long has it been since we last heard it?

Have you noticed, now that we're all locked down, we are connecting more with friends, and the connections are more deliberate? It's been nice, hasn't it, even though I'll probably be more or less a hermit still. I wish it wasn't a pandemic that unites us, and yet there is something... ummm... not bad?? "Good"?? in the world fighting the same thing together. Well, more or less together. If only we could do this about the environment. And less traumatic world events.
Day 3, March 28. Today my character was tested and I failed. I woke up knowing I have reached Covid reading saturation. I was determined to work on one of my projects. Or clean the house. Every lockdown achievement by friends almost depress me; they are getting so much done, their homes are getting tidier, cleaner, nicer, while the magnitude of my task in that department gets me down.

But I first did my usual round of Facebook checking, which takes longer these days, among other reasons there is a local lockdown-related group where I find information in the comment section. It started because as hard as the government tries, there are different ways to interpret the rules; one of the most robust has been how far one can go for the allowed daily exercise; if we can drive to where we will do the exercise; how many minutes or km we can drive; and how many can be in the car to go to such places. Members cite different government sources, trying to find the latest announcements, but in the end it's up to each person's interpretation. At times some become quite adamant, claiming other are, "trying to kill my family," for e.g. Apparently there have been more than a few older ladies who can be surprisingly abusive and expletive by reports from young mothers with littlies upon their return.

Which lead me to think of how police states and autocracy and similar come to power; how it's not only those at the top taking away rights of the masses, but segments enforcing their beliefs/interpretations on others. They may not be malicious, their interpretations not incorrect, but it becomes their creed, and when their adamance is louder, others, however numerous, sometimes cede. If not already in existence, (and in today's "daily exercise" discussion, there was,) there may emerge, just as boisterous, those at the opposite end of the interpretation spectrum, and there we have the 21C polarization.

This kind of division won't be sanctioned in New Zealand for now under Jacinda, but I couldn't help thinking she knows history, and it wasn't only her predilection that made her repeat, "Be kind". This situation will probably grow worse in the coming weeks before we regain sanity.

Instead of getting up to embark on some meaningful making, I wrote to friends, and watched more Covid how-to videos. How to sort grocery post-shopping vid was thoroughly depressing but friends say they do it, so I guess we must, too. I find myself frustrated/annoyed by countries/friends who are not in lockdown, even though New Zealand is a newbie.  

Meanwhile, Ben successfully installed the new loo tank upstairs, but had to take some parts off the downstairs one. One loo for the two of us until further notice. The weather was brilliant.
Day 4, March 29. Neighbour Kathryn left us dehydrated apples with a lovely note on our outside steps. (The jar was full but Ben and I had some with cereal in the morning, and I munched on some in the afternoon.) She emailed me to say she also baked bread today.

I had hoped to work on a project later, but first I had to empty the linen closet so Ben could go up to the roof cavity to leave rat poison. This is an almost-annual Easter thing at #44. Afterwards, as I put things back in, I wanted to cull the content, but found only four Christmas ornaments to give to charity. Hanging Christmas/lockdown lights might be fun, though.

That, and a bit of laundry was pretty much it for the day. I am wasting a good lockdown - the story of my life. Tomorrow, projects.
Day 5, March 30. I made three masks; they took forever and I'm "sew" bad at it, but shall try at least three more to see if I can improve. Also made coconut-macaroon-ish cookie-like "treat". Edible, delicious in fact, but wet and wrinkly and ugly. I must stop using the stick blender extension and use the magnificent whisk with egg whites; the blender can't achieve hard peak.

I feel anxious about going to the supermarket after reading all the rules and comments sections, though not sure which one of us will be delegated to go inside. To delay our shopping trip, we've been studying what we have on hand more carefully, rationing fresh ingredients, using and eating slightly less. This is good for our budget and weight; it's actually a good practice for retirement if we can keep it up. Or down.
Day 6, March 31. Today I rant. (FB keeps loosing my rant, so this is the short version.) I made three of these for Ben. I knew he would tell me he prefers masks with wire for a better fit. I knew this these last three days I worked on masks. But hey, Plague? Besides, it's Tardis? Besides, how the Holy Hellebores do you wash a mask with wire in it?

He hinted, even before we were out the door. You know, softly, with no malice. But he does this. He never wore one of my first presents, a light, reversible green jacket, because the inside was red. (He didn't wear girl colors back then.) He didn't wear the first thing I made him, a navy corduroy shirt with small wooden buttons, (not plastic pretending to be wood;) you wouldn't believe how hard it was to find them; he prefers shirts with yokes.

Don't get me wrong. Ben and I do "being cooped up together" well; at times we seek it. This is more to do with my relationship with my parents, where I knew I was going to be (completely unjustifiably more often than not, or for something infinitesimally trivial,) in trouble and I spent days and weeks dreading it. That, and Ben's optimism one day I might step up? Hasn't he learned I just suck at sewing?

The poor guy is exhausted from working longer hours than usual, and having a most strange trip to the supermarket. He fell asleep on the floor.

What a day. At once, like any normal day when we do our own things in different parts of the house, and yet... Plague.
Day 7, April 1. I made shrimp and lentil curry. Good thing I got in the habit of very slow cooking a while back; it adds to the normality of my life. I had planned for one last go making masks to finish what I've cut already, but that didn't happen. One hand: we have enough, we don't go out, and I'm not getting better at sewing one bit; other hand: these will be nicer, making them keep me off the screen, and even if the lockdown lasts for months, I won't have to do this again. Theoretically. Oh, and Third hand: project idea: wearable "art" masks.

Lockdown is starting to feel normal. It was bound to be, because it's no different from all the days Ben worked from home; it just goes on indefinitely. And not a bad thing, his office here gets ventilated, and the huge work screen heats up the room instantly. For a while I worried we were going to explode from eating better cooking all the time, but neither of us are hungry much so two meals a day may become the norm. Not a bad thing.


Now We Talk about a Plague - Lead Up to Lockdown

I hope you and yours are well, in whatever state of social/physical distancing/isolation you are.

I read recommendations to keep a diary during these unsettling times. Although I agreed, I wanted something not in text; drawing? fabric? an on-going warp? I dithered because I know how terrible I am at "something every day" approach. Then we found ourselves in a national lockdown with two and a half days prior notice. So text it was.

* * * * *

The Lead Up 
I had a cough in December/January, something that's been going on intermittently since May-ish of 2018. Since Karl had sold his medical practice while I was in Japan, I was terribly annoyed but went in to see a doctor anyway, hoping to get rid of the cough once and for all. I was prescribed gazillion medications, including steroids. The cough improved as I uncharacteristically obeyed the regimen, but I developped shakes in my shoulders and arms. Preferring not to revisit the doctor in particular, and the practice in general, I stuck it out. Because of the shakes I hesitated to weave beyond sampling, but I tried on February 12, (the pink-wefted start at the bottom,) and felt so weak, I kid you not, I crumbled onto the floor in a fetal position! (I crack up even writing those words, but I did!) 

So instead, I attempted to summarize the history of my thinking on Syrie and clarify where I was at. I reread all gazillion posts on the subject, cringe!, started a new post, found it gnarly because the idea mutated over the years, it was impossible to write one orderly coherent post without explaining every little change and detour. I tried different approaches, an interesting exercise in reminding me when/what I changed, learned, decided/discarded, but found no resolution. And my cough came back.

Also at the start of February, I started to pay attention to Corona; it was still called just Corona, and was only in "one place somewhere in China". I ignored the bird flu, swine flu, SARS, learned about MERS only in relation to Corona, and know the name H1N1 only because Ben's initials are HN. (It's the official name for one of the preceding.) At first I thought, oh, another one; I hope it doesn't come to Nelson. Kiwis are inexhaustibly well-travelled, (whenever there is a disaster anywhere in the world, there is a Kiwi who can provide on-the-ground story to our media,) and Nelson is home to disproportionately many. I only started paying attention because some of the first patients/deceased were 60, 61 and 62 years old. Then there was the constant mention of "comorbidity" and diabetes. Gradually Corona took over Syrie.

I read, watched vids and payed attention, while slowly implementing, forcing, changes to how we did things around here. Washing hands and coughing into our elbows were easy, but not touching our faces, I still can't manage. Ben hated having a shower immediately after coming home, but it was at the tail end of summer, still warm, and he got used to it in a week. Disinfecting all surfaces and devices at work with smelly disinfectants at least once a day, he wasn't crazy about and probably embarrassed, but he got used to that as well. By then we were both coughing occasionally.

I read somewhere that worldwide those of us usually very anxious were doing very well because for once there was something real to be anxious about, and we were performing well being practical. Then the first case in New Zealand was reported on February 28.

The problem of Ben's office arose. He has lovely colleagues, but the office is grossly unhealthy. In a department of few than a dozen, one or two are always out sick during the winter months, which had annoyed me for many years. The department being IT, there are many equipment generating heat, with air conditioning which does its job, so nobody thinks of ventilation. The air is stuffy, moist and smelly whenever I visit. There are also too many staff crammed in a relatively small space in Ben's half. The condition would have been similar to the cruise ship stuck in my home town, Yokohama. I started nagging Ben about working from home, for which he's well-equipped already.

But, oh, what a wonderful thing, this Internet. Not only can I find a lot of things about this now-pandemic, but so much free contents, opera!!, available for a time. Even though I was coughing badly, sometimes picturing me coughing up blood as I visited a doctor, telling the other patients, "Not Corona, mine is a wet cough." OK, slight exaggeration but I wasn't well.
Taken March 15, Panic buying had started in parts of the country, but in Nelson, a few more gaps than usual but mostly as per usual.

Ben gradually came around and intended to work from home the week of Monday, March 16, but suddenly meetings sprouted everywhere to discuss the CEO's sudden announcement, (without consultation with IT,) about better remote access to allow all staff to work from home. And though the school, not just IT, is used to meetings via Skype, all of a sudden Ben had to be present at all of his meetings. Still he declared he would work from home the week of Monday, March 23.

On Saturday, March 21, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern had a rare public announcement, explaining a four-level national Covid-19 alert system. Two tested positive in Nelson, and dinner at friends was cancelled, (although we had declined because of our coughs.) We went to pick up work equipment, took a detour to the supermarket, (we'd been stocking up a little at a time since mid-February,) and finally set up Ben's home office.

What follows, for the next few/several posts, (and hopefully not interminable,) is largely based on my diary, (which at times have been crammed bullet points,) and Facebook posts.

Day -2, March 23
First day of Ben working from home. He picked up equipment on Saturday and set up workstation so all ready. And with Skype meetings coming up, he had a shower and dressed normally. Admirable. Then the Polytech, [his work place,] announced over 65s and "sick" staff should work from home, so it is now all "official". All I have to do is stop nagging and start obsessively controlling his/our environment.

Then came Jacinda's announcement, shortly after lunch, and it's now real. Code 3 for 48 hours, [actually it was a day and a half,] lockdown for four weeks. About time. I'm relieved, but the food/supply we thought we had plenty/too much of on Saturday started to look a little lacking. Oh, well, we'll go after the official lockdown starts.

We need rules, though. I won't bother Ben while he is "working", and I must say I did well today, but Ben must also clarify if he's having a break or stopped working for the day. I forgive him for coming out to listen to Jacinda, but sometimes he wanders. [He sometimes walks around the campus to clear his head, which I encourage. I forgot this.] Also agreed breakfast and lunch as usual, i.e. we're on our own. Dinner, discuss and take turns. Also, the big bad monitor of his is enough heating for the office. Wonder if Ben now knows why I complain about how sick his office is.

Tired, but very relieved. But also... Ben being home all the time is going to change my days. Got in touch with Barbara/Duane, Kathryn/Tyler, and the troop. Relieved we had the fire place done early. "Talking" to all so many more friends, and they have lots of time now.

Jacinda said to be kind. Is there any other country where that's mentioned? 

Day -1, March 24
Feel very relaxed and relieved, especially that Jacinda is at the helm. Of course I think we should have started closing the country when the cruise ship was stuck in Yokohama, and lockdown a fortnight earlier, (we seem to be in the last? Lot already among developped countries,) but kudos to making it four weeks rather than two. Kudos for doing it. Amazed the world is still so concerned about the economy. Personal jobs/income, understandable, but "the economy"!! Let's come out of this alive first, eh. 

[I feel smug about having sorted] the firewood and the fire place. Making chicken curry. Got rat poison at the last minute.

Day 0. March 25
Oh, we have one more day of prepping. Panic buying all over; not sure about Nelson. We have more than enough for a while. Ben bored and pacing, (it's only Wednesday!) but also fixed the outside tap, and in our final trip to the Mega Store 2.5 hours before closing, we got a new loo tank. I don't know why we don't do these things when they break, but at least we are on our way. I am relieved we're finally going into lockdown, even though I would have done it earlier. I could punch Mr "We Are Not There Yet", [Dr Ashley Bloomfield, chief executive of the New Zealand Ministry of Health and Director-General of Health,] but since Jacinda relies on him, I'll wait.
Here we go, with my bubble mate. He waka eke noa. We're in this together.