Life Is Somewhat Different Now.

This week I focused on the pantry, fridge and freezer. First we did a stocktake of these places on Tuesday..

Tuesday night Scomo (our useless-in-my-opinion Prime Minister) announced that nail salons would close midnight Wednesday. I immediately messaged my nail lady and booked in for first thing the next morning. Look, there are very few things I do for myself when it comes to health and beauty and nails is the top of my list. I don’t do them for other people, I do them for me. I love to look down and see good healthy strong nails with a nice manicure. It is good for my mental health.

BUUUUT The Other Half was very unhappy that I was going to the nail salon. Every time he has been past there people are packed in like sardines. The only way he would agree that I could go was if I would wear a mask. I did already have fabric masks on order from a lady I know who does Markets – Besgrove Embroidery – they were due to arrive on Wednesday but it was only Tuesday. You can still order them via her Facebook page if you want one.

She had put a post up late last week and boy did the keyboard warriors give her a scolding. So much so she took the post down, but I had already ordered mine and also told everyone I knew, some of whom wanted to order them. We ended up doing one package to me and I gave them out to the folks when they got here. We’ve added some copper wire to ours to keep them in place over the nose.

But my Mother had told me, she had some old not used surgical masks from when Dad was unwell in 2011, and I figured those would still work just fine. So I dropped over to pick one up first thing Wednesday.

It turned out three of the five people in the nail bar were people I am in regular contact with through my business and I had spent two and a half hours in their company on Monday night, so that certainly eased his mind somewhat. I also had brought along spare masks for them to keep and use in the coming days, at least until our fabric ones arrived.

I already had a haircut booked in for Wednesday- my normal “chop it all off before it begins to get too cold and I have to use the hairdryer” appointment. My hairdresser and her daughter are both customers of my business and they were also here on Monday night. They were the only other people in the salon, which eased The Other Half’s mind a little. I was in and out of there in 45 minutes.

While I was sitting there I realised.. The Other Half isn’t going to let me back out to do anything else, so I better run all the errands I can before I go back home. I went to one supermarket for milk, bread and potatoes. Milk was limited to 2×2 litres. I went to a cash and carry bulk buy place for beef mince, chicken breast, more milk and calamari. I managed to get eggs there too. Then I dropped all of these groceries at my front door for The Other Half to de-germ, while I headed out to one last supermarket.

All three of the supermarkets I went to, there were other people wearing masks, some of them quite elaborate and fancy and in one case like a genuine wartime gas mask.

You cannot smile at others while wearing a mask, because they cannot see your mouth. You have to learn to SMIZE as Tyra Banks would say. Smile with your eyes.

When I got to the final supermarket a fellow mask wearer congratulated me on my wearing a mask – finally another sane person she said. Is it sane? I’m not sure, but I’m not taking any chances here. I will err on the side of caution. I will sanitize and disinfect and take off all my clothes and wash them right away in the laundry – which I did as soon as I got back from the final supermarket. I will not go to Bunnings on the weekend unless it is a true hardware emergency. I will only go to the supermarket if I must.

Speaking of supermarket musts, that same Wednesday at 6pm the pair of us headed to Aldi for one final shop. There wasn’t much left in the way of meat but we did manage to get almost everything we wanted with the exception of tissues and green capsicum (peppers) – they did have some but they were Not Great.. I think we are good here for at least two possibly four weeks now.

We did use the hand sanitizer a lot, and I am lucky because I love Bath and Body Works so much, I have a very good supply of that and hand wash here at home. I stocked up on our last visit.

Thursday, I had to post something to a customer, so while I was out I sourced tissues and also grabbed bread and milk for the parents. I dropped that in to them plus a “mighty roll” of paper towel.

Thursday afternoon I went to the Berry Farmers Market. It was like a big chess game, with boxes drawn on the ground and you could move to the next box when it was empty. I got more eggs, some more mince meat and steaks, and then some incredible veggies, really enormous carrots and scored some brussel sprouts yay. Here is a photo from the Kiama one which was set out the same –

The fridge is now completely full. The freezer has a little space left but not much.

Friday was a day at home. Saturday we had deliveries to do, and these went from here all the way to Campbelltown. The one rule I made for myself at the start of this – NO public toilets at all. I will not go into one. And while we were out for almost 5 hours, I did manage to adhere to this rule. That brings us to today, another stay at home day..

So anyway since I wrote the above there have been developments. We are now supposed to stay at home.

Now all the days will be stay at home days. In many ways this is a good thing. I guess we’ll see what happens next. But we certainly were prepared for this announcement. Do I think it will stop the folks endlessly traipsing from shop to shop looking for toilet paper? No, I don’t.

You can check in with some other folks blogging through Corona at –

Moving With Mitchell
Dkzody’s Weblog
High Riser
Stargazer
Dawn

If you would like to be added to this list, just leave a comment on this post with a link to your blog.

COVID-19 2020

Whoops It Is Friday, I forgot..

I’ll do a more complete update on Sunday and link to the other bloggers who are regularly updating (if that is you leave a link in the comments if you didn’t do it on the last post of mine) but just to let you know, we are all good here at the moment. I did some shopping this week and we are pretty much set for a four week lockdown if we need to do it. Well, we mostly will be doing a lockdown as of Sunday other than The Other Half going to work. We have to go out and do some deliveries to folks tomorrow but that will all be low contact and socially distanced.

I do have some stories to tell but it is 11:15pm and past bedtime here. Another day.

I hope you are all doing well. :)

blog housekeeping

The Staying In Chronicles Part 1

Who knows how many parts this will have in the end? :)

If you are going to join in and blog during this time of self isolation, comment below and I will link to your blog in future installments. It could be interesting for all of us to keep up with how we’re doing together.

9:00AM – I have developed a rather intense need to hunt and gather.

I’m doing a big kitchen stocktake today, to see what we actually need. I suspect the truth is I have already hunted and gathered and can remain calm at home instead. When we next shop we will stock up as much as we can, and then we are staying in as much as possible.

Eggs are a big thing for us, we eat a lot of them and our chooks are not laying at the moment. If I can get a few cartons I will feel better. I’m going to try the farmers market on Thursday where 12 free range eggs cost $10 instead of $6.40 but in this case I am just going to suck it up and pay the extra. Peace of mind is important too.

We have already baked our first bread loaf on Saturday and we ate the last of that yesterday. Bread is not usually a thing for us, especially for me. We’ll limit the loaves to one a week and just eat it in a clump. :)

Also on the agenda for today is washing, which I will rise from the recliner at some future moment to tackle. But right now Cuckoo Kitten is in my footspace – she is very sooky today and I’m just going to enjoy that for now.

4:00pm – Kitchen stocktake is complete. We’re looking pretty good for staples and tinned foods, though I still have one cupboard to do. Chicken Roaster is in the oven. We only have 5 potatoes left so.. that is on the to-buy list.

5:00pm – the other cupboard is complete. Happy days.

If you are looking for something to listen to, Tom Hanks was on the Clear + Vivid podcast recently, and this week Betty White is the guest. I’m about to go listen to that now. I’ll probably post again on Friday and let you know how things are going here. :)

Home

What To Say.. Now.

May you live in interesting times, they said. It’ll be fun, they said.. I’m not sure if the hunt for toilet paper is interesting but fortunately for me, we’re good in that area. We don’t use much and we’ve got enough for probably two months. BUT – and here is the problem – if I see some, I likely will buy some. And that is what everyone else is doing, which is the entire problem in a nutshell.

Said nutshell has now spread to other goods, which is troubling. But we’re set for a couple of weeks, so we’re mostly just going to hunker down and wait it out. The trouble there being, I think in a couple of weeks we will be in a very different situation which makes me want to go out and stock up, which is also the entire problem in a nutshell. If we don’t do this now, will we regret it later? I do not know. Do I want to find out? Not really.

I hate to be the voice of doom but I have a very bad feeling about leaving the schools open. Kids might not be affected very badly but they can carry it well, and if they bounce between school, a crowded bus, home where perhaps their parents have picked this up from their work, a crowded bus then back to school, what might they bring along with them to infect the other children? And what about the teachers? Not cool, Scomo. Not cool at all.

If I had a kid they would not be going to school at this time. If you have kids I’d pull them out of there if you can.

Steer clear of public toilets because nobody shuts the lid when they flush, is my second piece of unsolicited advice.

Re-reading The Stand by Stephen King is likely the worst idea of all time at this time but I’m doing it all the same. Don’t do it, is my final piece of advice to you.

Cats, chooks, humans are all well at this time. We’ve both had a bit of an inner ear thing for a while now but that is survivable. The Other Half has started his Uni course, and I am busy with the business, when I can get some stock in. That is certainly going to be Not Very Easy for a while with so few planes flying.

The cats seem to be getting along with each other reasonably well, well enough that they don’t like to be too far from each other. If they are sleeping it usually is in the same room.

Sure, Happy will still sometimes whack her on the head impatiently, but Cuckoo is persistent in her attempts to hug Happy, and more and more often now, Happy just rolls her eyes and allows her to do it. When Happy thinks we are not looking, she will play with Cuckoo. Happy does not realise we have cameras in the kitchen which is their favourite play time area, and we can watch from afar.

Anyway, that is our current mostly boring status. To be fair I do not want interesting now.

“Can you believe those chickens” says Happy?

Home

What To Say

Hey Zazzy I am posting this especially for you, please forgive the disjointed state of this post. It has been pretty full on here. I’ve been writing this post for a week – there is a before, and an after.

I want to say a big thank you to those who have reached out whether on their blog or privately by email – it is much appreciated. ;) I am feeling the love.

BEFORE – Tuesday February 4th 2020 –

My most prized possessions (pictured in the first three photos) are not presently in this house. They may return this week, if we get the predicted rain. I vowed they would not return to the house until we got 100mls of rain. We are at just under 65mm at the moment, so still some more work to do there weather.

There was a day in January that we evacuated. Do you know how much trouble I had picking out my most treasured possessions? And once I had done it, I was just emotionally unable to pack them up. The Other Half had to do it, and still I get emotional trying to even talk about it.

The day before we evacuted – a Friday from memory – we packed up the business and much of the shed stuff including our servers (which is why the site went offline the first time) and drove it up to a friends house near Shellharbour, about an hours drive north.

That night we went to get fuel in the van after dropping all the stuff off, and the fuel station was packed full of fire trucks. I don’t know why but the tears just started falling down my face and I couldn’t make it stop. Partly because I’d been listening to them on the scanner, partly because by this point three firefighters had been killed in the process of doing their volunteer job that they were not being paid for, partly because I was happy to see these folks had made it safely through their day that day..

I can’t explain it. This happened to me more than once. How do you even begin to say thank you? How do you even try to say how ashamed you are at how they have been treated by our own Prime Minister and politicians?

The following morning we took ourselves, the cats and chickens, my parents, a suitcase of clothes and the computers. I did not realise when we left that the predicted change would be coming through about 11pm that night – which meant we would not be returning home that day. I was unprepared for this event and ended up sleeping on a couch.

The Other Half had a camping mattress on the floor, my parents got the spare bed. The cats and chickens were accommodated for free at a vet up that way who had offered to take in displaced pets in their boarding facility. I do not think they expected chickens but they took them in and looked after them.

The chickens were entirely baffled by these events. First their coop door did not open that morning – deliberately programmed not to by us. They were placed into the Red Transport Carrier as a surprise, and loaded into the car. Most of them have been in the car before for a short trip but they were quite shocked by this hour long venture.

It reminded me of a video I have seen of pigs in a bathtub. The pigs make a bit of a fuss when placed into the water, then they relax and make some gentle oinking, then one of them moves and they all kind of freak out again. I can’t find the video or I’d post it.

The next day we returned home with cats and chickens to find the house still standing, though covered in ash and burnt leaves, even burnt twigs this time. We were physically and emotionally exhausted, but once the cats and chickens were re-installed to their correct places, we made the trek back up to pick up all our belongings we’d taken up on Friday. We unpacked the shed stuff and the business stuff, and tried to get back to normal.

But normal is a different thing now. Impossible to describe. Everyone is so much more friendly. There is a real sense of community which was mostly lacking before.

This is as far as I got writing the first part of this post before we got very busy with life and the business and also a new weather event, so now..

AFTER – Tuesday 11th February.

We’ve had rain. SO MUCH RAIN. Remember we were at 65mls?

That is 308mm in the space of a week. My belongings are back in the house. Would it surprise you to learn I’ve had just as much trouble unpacking them? The suitcase is still full. But this is more a lack of time thing than a lack of want to thing. The business has taken off this past few weeks and we have just been so flat out.

I went to the local show recently and met a couple of the firefighters I’d heard on the radio a lot in person. This time the sight of fire trucks did not make me cry, but I did have a chance to try and express my thank you in person. One of them I know for a fact much of their hard work prevented the fire getting any closer to where we live.

One of the reasons I do not post here so much anymore is something I am really struggling with – online anonymity. I can’t be anonymous with the business. It is at our house, where we live. I’ve had to put myself out there and it has been very scary for someone who carefully built their online alias.

When I’ve wanted to tell you about it, I know that anything I say could lead the intelligent folks who read this blog to my own doorstep – and some of them might not be friendly types. You know, those Nigerian scammers I got arrested, or those whose fake cheques I collected which cost them money. But I want to tell you what I am doing! So I will likely write a password protected post soon and you’ll have to email me for the password.

In the meantime, we are safe, the water has mostly drained away, while it is a bit soggy underfoot still and the chooks doing well but they are a muddy mess we’ve all survived this season of fire and water.

Our Cuckoo Kitten is now a Mini-Cat. This photo does not give you an accurate concept of her lankiness. She is delightful. She adores Happy. The feeling is not at all mutual. Happy is not a big fan, but she is tolerating her, and sometimes when we are not looking, she will play and actually enjoy it! But as soon as she sees us looking.. she is back to pretending not to like the Mini-cat.

There is so much more but it is getting late and I’m going to post this and head to bed.

country life, Home

We Are Ok.. For Now.

But who knows, it could all change on any upcoming day.

I do not remember the last time I took a breath and did not smell smoke.

For now, I do not remember the last time the sun was a normal colour. The light is a weird orange colour for much of the day. Those are not clouds in that photo – that is smoke.

I do not remember the last morning where I woke up and did not immediately turn on the scanner to find out what the fire people are up to. I am extremely grateful we are still allowed to hear them – the police went encrypted digital some time ago.

However today the local RFS scanner frequency has been offline for a lot of the day, and I have no idea what is happening out there. It is unsettling not to know. Facebook is full of incorrect information and we can’t be sure what is real and what is not real. We certainly can’t rely on the media. I’d rather hear it from the horses mouth.

For most of us we are living in some kind of suspended limbo – many of us feel that it is not necessarily a question of if but of when.

I know here that if we get ember attack we are likely going to lose everything. We’ve prepared our property as best we can, moving all the leaf litter to the chook pen yard – the chickens will be evacuated if required, along with the cats and ourselves. But we have neighbours who are elderly and who have an overgrown block – many of the plants on their block have died in the drought and it is just a tinderbox waiting to go up in flames. If that happens, I would expect we will lose our house.

So, we wait and hope.

Our cuckoo kitten is now a lanky teenager, so incredibly long. She is an oddity. Obsessed with the sink and water, a great jumper and very much an explorer cat. She is keeping Happy busy, they chase each other around the house, normally right after we head to bed. You haven’t lived until you’ve had two cats run over you at full pelt.

The chooks are doing well and greatly enjoying their leaf litter. They’ll mulch that down in pretty quick order, providing we water it regularly which attracts bugs which they then take great delight in digging for.

country life

Not Quite Over

I thought I had finished my Black Friday rant but turns out I am still ranty about it. I received the above in an email on Sunday. Friday cannot be on a Sunday, Kmart. That is not how days work!

According to my shopping emails, Black Friday began here on Friday the 22nd of November and it continued to Sunday the 1st of December. Black Friday involved a Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, the actual Black Friday, second Saturday, and a second Sunday. What an amazing day to last 10 days. And then it was Cyber Monday, sure, fine, whatever, but now I wake up this morning to this email?

You are going to make cyber week out of cyber Monday? NO I MUST DECLINE THIS.

Bad enough that in the space of Cyber Monday, the retailers that I gave my email address sent me 59 emails. On a good day I get 12-14 and I don’t mind it, I like to keep in the loop of what is happening though I very rarely buy anything now. But no, just because you have my email address does not entitle you to send me multiple emails in one day. I expect one per day. Anything more, and we’re breaking up. So I have a few retailers to unsubscribe from now.

To add insult to this injury, in Australia Black Friday has a very different meaning – it refers to a terrible bushfire event in 1939 where 71 people died in the fires.

I’d accept this retail insanity IF we had the Thanksgiving to go with it as they do in the US. But we do not. So it is just an excuse for the shops to try and get us to spend $$, and we have more than enough of those already.

Annoyed Snoskred, shopping

Life In Snoskredland At The Moment

Hey everyone it is finally BLACK FRIDAY though you could be forgiven for thinking it was last Friday or any given day between now and then. Retailers, Black Friday is not a thing in Australia nor will we ever accept it being a thing, and we are all studiously ignoring your many many emails about it, kthx. And it is exceptionally bad taste given the bushfires raging at the moment. There, my annual Black Friday rant is over. NEXT!

Watching: Still stuck on NYPD Blue.. Sipowicz I just can’t quit you. But in between I watched The Crown (fantastic) – The Knight Before Christmas (cheesy but still funny and worth the watch) – we are watching the final season of Mr Robot – Take That released their most recent concert that I went to see in the cinema earlier in the year LOVED IT – can’t stop watching Below Deck – and some truly terrible television AKA 90 Day Fiancé.

Listening: to my art studio playlist and playing one Take That song over and over – Everlasting.

Mourning: The recent loss of Bob which reminded me very much of our loss of Grumpy. Despite the cuckoo kitten and Happy entertaining us greatly this loss is still very much felt by us.

Importing: All the brooches to sell at the markets. :)

Eating: Mini cupcakes. Greatly loving to bake at the moment.

Hanging: out in the delicate nirvana with the kitties. Yes there are two kitties in this photo, can you spot the second one?

Playing: soccer with Cuckoo who appears to be a natural.

Chilling: with Cuckoo and Carter.

kitties

The Cuckoo Kitten

Her Royal Highness descended upon our humble abode with a freshly shaved belly and small shaved spot on her front leg from her desexing operation. What an impression she has made here already. After a time of great sadness, she is making us laugh again. She is also helping us to remember all the happy times we had with Grumpy when she was a kitten many years ago.

She is mostly black, with one tiny white patch on her chest, and some white on her belly which is currently growing back. She does have some tabby-style stripes which you can see in certain lighting but they are just slightly different shades of black. Personality wise she is very patient and kind, she purrs constantly, she is determined, fearless and brave.

Her name here on the blog will officially be Cuckoo, and to be fair that is the word I most use to describe her regularly.

Happy is not such a fan. We were hopeful that given her 6 years of trying to make Grumpy accept her that she would be accepting and even eager to have a little one to play with. Thus far there is quite a bit of hissing, a lot of staring, and the occasional paw swat if Cuckoo gets too close. We have seen small signs of progress and the occasional bit of play together – it especially tends to happen when we are not watching – it is still early days and we have hope for the future.

Cuckoo has zero fear and like any child believes she is invincible and cannot be hurt. She is incredible at jumping – the nearest thing to the top of this room divider is a metre away. She just leaped and there she was, up on top of it.

She is a great sleeper and has two modes – awake and full pelt, or fast asleep. Sometimes when she wakes it takes her a short while to switch from one mode to the other. She already has several favourite places to sleep throughout the house and she and Happy are swapping sleeping spots which is a positive sign.

Keep a good thought for our kitties, that they will learn to love one another. :)

kitties

The Grumpyless Life

Losing a much loved pet is always hard on everyone in the house. On the one hand life must go on, we’ve had markets we’d committed to attending, we’ve had to keep the business going, The Other Half had to keep going to work and keep studying – the studying probably being the hardest part for him to push on with at this stage..

I’ve been able to throw myself into the business but there is at least one moment every day when it hits me fresh once again. Yesterday two weeks to the day I finally was able to bring myself to wash my lap rug. It was the favourite place for Grumpy to sleep. Washing that was the last piece of the letting her go puzzle for me. The healing can truly begin now that the holding on is complete.

The one it has been hardest on surprisingly is Happy. She’s lived with the tyrant of tortitude Grumpy for over 6 years adoring her from afar, never being allowed to love Grumpy like she wanted to, any advance met with the swipe of a paw. But every day she misses her and she is completely lost without the Big Kitty to keep her in line. Her routines – while we have kept them the same as much as possible – are not the same without Grumpy here.

Every morning when The Other Half would go to the shower, both the cats would go into the bathroom and await their tuna feast, often vocally telling The Other Half to hurry up. Once he was done with the shower, they would walk to the end of the hallway and perform a little play we liked to call Kitty Bookends, where they would sit exactly the same way on opposite corners of the mat there. Once he would appear there would be a lot of meowing and one if not both cats would jump up on the kitchen stools to watch the preparation of their tuna snack.

Now Happy stays on the bed with me for much of The Other Half’s morning shower before wandering in to see what he is up to in there. She still does kitty bookends but she does it alone and every time it breaks my heart.

Worst of all, during the day she is mopey cat now instead of happy cat. She still looks for Grumpy but never finds her. It is almost like she is expecting her to return home from the vet or some kind of kitty vacation. She spends a lot more time sleeping than she used to. We are spending a lot of time trying to encourage her to play – kibble catch is presently her favourite game and she will often get 3 or 4 20 minute sessions of that in the space of the day.

We’ve always been a two cat household and we want to continue to be a two cat household, so this week we will (hopefully) begin the process of introducing a new cat to the house. We did take Happy out to the shelter for a meet and greet but it did not go especially well, Happy was too freaked out by the new surroundings to get comfortable even though we stayed quite some time. But we were able to see which of the kitties was the most interested in Happy and which one reacted the best to her, so we made a choice.

I did not take even one photo while we were out there – we were too focused on Happy and the kitties. But you will certainly see some once the new kitty arrives here. We hope this will begin a new era of Happy Movement – she is definitely in need of exercise and a new cat in the house – one who will actually play with her – might be exactly what she needs.

Please keep a good thought that the introduction will go well, and that Happy will become Big Kitty to a new Little Kitty. A very little kitty – the staff felt the best chance for a good fit with Happy given the situation and her past experiences was a kitten. We usually would have chosen a slightly older cat but in this case we took their advice. We hope Happy will take her under her wing.

kitties