My google search history is a glimpse into my mental state. A headweather tangle of all things coronavirus related. Symptoms. News. It clearly charts the steady decline in my homeschooling ideals. Early on it was alphabet worksheets & maths exercises. Yoga for kids. Images of outer space. The Mariana Trench. What the fuck a tapir looks like. And a whole whoopie whack of craft ideas. 

Then a rapid decline happened. 

You can see the very point where I gave up, adjusted the online shop to include 2 ‘mama’s juice boxes’ of dry white & sent the kids out onto the trampoline. 

The google searches were then all along the lines of,

“How long should a 5 year old bleed for before I call an ambulance?”

Even so, I kiss the trampoline daily in gratitude. Whoever you were. Person who invented this secure-bouncy-wrestling-arena. Thank you. You may have my first born. No returns.

All levels and expectations are lower than ever. Quarantine style is a whole thing, dressing with a questionable nod to personal grooming and coordination. I’ve taken all isolation style pointers from the Dude. 

Jeans? No.
Dressing gown? Yes.
Bra? Definitely no. Joe Wicks is making that tricky, but I’m hanging in there.

Deodorant? Is anyone!?

Mad hair
Natural brows
Fuzzy exteriors

Nature is reclaiming us all in time for summer. 

I am seriously considering training as a bikini waxer. (You can do that online, right? Business will be through the roof when we get out.)

My daily exercise has gone Dutch. I have a complex relationship with my bike. But somehow in these times of isolation and strangeness, my bike and I have made up. In the absence of a gym, I am going on evening cycles. I am the style-maverick-cyclist, pedaling around a big forest near us. I figure I can escape the zombie attack quicker on a bike, than if I was on foot… in case the coronavirus mutates. I watched Cargo. That might not have been the best idea. 

Every morning the husband dresses his top half only, then ‘goes to work’ upstairs. Is everyone who is working from home just in their undercrackers? Are some not wearing pants at all? Breezily typing away. Do a spontaneous stand up meeting at your desk today and find out. Please report back. I need to know.

I take the kids downstairs to ‘school’.
I made a schedule.
They mainly ignore the schedule.
But if anyone is at a loose end, it’s there.
Optimistically laminated, on a clipboard, on a wall hook.

The kids have me doing mental things. I am their slave. I swear they’ll start ringing a bell for me to attend their needs soon. I read that someone was convinced by her kids to get into her wedding dress for lunch, and couldn’t think of a reason to say no. I think it was a sneaky brag that she still fits in the fecking thing. But I get it. I am being mauled to death by them.

Communication with friends has resorted to a shorthand of memes, statements of desperation. Mutters of ‘murder being messy‘. I miss people. More than that, I miss people over a meter tall. I wonder if my neck is realigning to only look down when talking. 

And throughout it all, the rumbling-crushing sound of anxiety, roaring in the background. For friends and family, for the indomitable front line staff….all those people OUT THERE. The OUTSIDERS. I fret for people alone, trapped in a flat, unable to go out at all. My extroverted needs want to shriek at them through a megaphone,
“Are you ok?”
“Have you named a plant Wilson yet?” 

Our natural world is healing.
Pollution dropping.
While our economy is collapsing,
Online supermarket shopping is booming. 

The roar of the things is loud. Luckily the screams of my kids on the trampoline drowns most of it out. 

The husband clocks off work, shuts down the webcam, puts some pants on, comes downstairs to give me a break and I go out. It’s Dutch dinner time, so there is literally no one about. I breathe. Consider how smug the geese look, reclaiming the roads. I wonder if I’ll spot a herd of wild deer charging down the bike path and keep a stern eye out for zombies.

I was born in Ireland, grew up in England and met my Cornish husband in Catalonia. We now live in the Netherlands, in Dutch suburbia with our two differently wired, small kids. I spend my days parenting, writing and being amazed at all the Dutchness around me.

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