Pandemic diary

Coronavirus Chronicles: Week 3

Coronavirus Chronicles week 3 #survivalmode | Let the Journey Begin

It’s Friday and thus time for another weekly update. To be honest, week three has been the hardest week so far.

In a nutshell: the productivity was pretty high, the motivation was low, and the levels of patience were close to hitting rock bottom.

But first, let me start with the status quo in our part of the world.

What’s been happening in Germany

As I write, Germany has passed 90,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases with over 1,000 deaths. The exact numbers tend to vary depending on which source of data you use (and who even knows what the true numbers would be). At any rate, Germany is in the worldwide top 5 of confirmed Coronavirus cases.

So far, the low death rate has meant that the hospitals are not overwhelmed. As a result, the hotter debate right now is when and how the “anti-Corona measures” can be loosened. Currently, most restrictions countrywide have a deadline of the 19th of April.

The Robert Koch Institute (Germany’s CDC) has confirmed that school closures and limitations of social contacts have been successful so far but are still not good enough to loosen restrictions. Angela Merkel, who is finally out of her 14-day quarantine, addressed the country today asking for understanding and endurance. With nice weather and the Easter holidays on the horizon, sticking to the rules next week might be harder than ever.

One of the most interesting current initiatives is a study on Coronavirus antibodies in the general population that is about to start in Munich (source in German). The testing of a representative sample of 3,000 households aims to clarify the actual spread of the virus and deliver important data for decision-making.

First snow on our balcony
The first snow this year, on the 30th March

Life at home

After a fairly smooth and chilled week two, this week we all hit the wall, metaphorically speaking. Both hubby and I had a lot of work to do so juggling everything was more difficult. The kids were complaining of boredom more often and the crappy weather meant no playtime on the balcony.

After a particularly emotional Tuesday evening, we realized that we have to be more strict with the screen time. TV and tablet make them happy temporarily, but too much leads to cranky kids who don’t know what to do with themselves. Certainly not new information for us, but we hadn’t encountered this problem for a long a time.

Instead, we finally dug into our toy stash.

Kids playing with a new toy
Busy kids are happy kids

The toy stash

Let me explain what I mean by that. Both hubby and I tend to buy cool things for kids whenever we seem them, both online and offline. This can be anything from seasonal craft supplies from Aldi to bigger toys from the kids’ wish lists when an online store has a big sale.

But we don’t want to completely spoil the children by constantly giving them stuff for no special reason. So most of these purchases go into the secret toy stash. When a birthday or a name day, or a long trip comes near, we simply look at the things we already have at home and decide which ones to give.

This toy stash is proving to be invaluable right now, particularly because we tend to get open-ended toys and crafts that the kids can do by themselves.

Grocery shopping is the worst

How often do you go grocery shopping these days? And how does it feel for you?

Personally, it stresses me out.

For one, I’m used to shopping every 1-2 days so meal planning and long lists are a conscious effort for my brain. We also do the grocery shopping for my parents-in-law which makes the lists even longer.

Moreover, being outside right now feels weird. The places may be the same but the people act differently. Some stores have built elaborate screens around the cashiers, others have done the bare minimum. Some people wear masks, some don’t. Some people go out of their way to keep a 2-meter distance, others have no problem passing close by in grocery aisles.

This new choreography of daily life is seriously exhausting for my brain.

Survival mode

I’m very aware that we are very fortunate in this situation, not least because we can easily work from home. But some days are damn hard nevertheless.

What brings us most joy right now are the little things. Letting the kids go snorkeling in the bathtub. Sleeping in one morning. Watching a fun movie. Checking in with friends around the world. Getting yummy takeout (which really is a double win – no cooking for you, more business for your favorite restaurant).

Hamburger dinner
Friday night dinner from the amazing Burger Village

3 things I’m loving right now

The Getty Museum asked its Twitter followers to recreate artworks with objects from their homes and I am amazed about the creativity of people (click below to see the replies on Twitter)

April Fools’ was subdued this year but there is one thing that brought me so much joy. Users of the Reddit forum r/AskHistorians (usually a meticulous but also super strict corner of Reddit) did posts in the style of r/AmITheAsshole and it was glorious. Even if Reddit is not your thing, do check out the highlights!

On a more serious note, the article Why You Should Ignore All That Coronavirus-Inspired Productivity Pressure is likely one of the most valuable things I’ve read all week.

Continue reading:

Week 1 #FindingANewNormal

Week 2 #TogetherAtHome

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