The Virus Diaries: A Million Shades of Grey

March 16, 2020 at 12:58 pm (Fully Sick, general life, Mum Stuff, recipes)

Beginning of the Virus Diaries.

I dreamed that Chris Evans (aka Captain America) and I were rehearsing a romantic scene (yes there was kissing, shut up) for a new Marvel movie. I often dream I’m rehearsing for Marvel movies—usually with Zendaya and Tom Holland, because apparently my unconscious mind thinks I’m in my 20s—and it’s enormously fun.

An SMS woke me up (because so much is getting cancelled at the moment, there are a lot of organisational messages flying about) but I managed to step back into my dream.

Unfortunately I now dreamed that I’d overslept and was running late to rehearsal. I frantically got ready, including a shower because I didn’t want to smell bad while kissing Chris Evans (my unconscious mind is very considerate of major Hollywood stars), but my car was missing. I begged my mother to borrow her car, which I’d never driven before, and she reluctantly let me (KISSING CHRIS EVANS, MUM! I GOTTA GO BEFORE I GET FIRED!!), at which point I rabbit-hopped across the road just as a cop car came around the corner. I babbled frantically that I was just driving the car for the first time and not drunk or anything and pleeeeaaase let me go to work. That’s when they noticed my mother’s car was out of rego.


At which point I was woken by another SMS, and I got up. Might as well, since Marvel was definitely going to fire me. Oh well, it’s not like I could survive the Marvel Diet anyway.

Pretty sure the dream was courtesy of this article at the Mary Sue web site:

And Now a Thread of Chris Evans as Hand Sanitizer Because We Deserve It


Today is Monday. It was going to be the kids’ first swimming carnival, but it got postponed—luckily for us, as we’re staying home anyway. I’m 99% sure none of the Banks family has the COVID-19 virus, or even a regular flu, but we’re doing the right thing staying home under the circumstances. Going to work sick is not cool any more, my peeps.

The title of today’s episode is all about that funny limbo state most Australians find themselves in right now. Do we self-isolate? When? How much?

Things have changed so quickly from, “Eh, it’s just a bad flu. If you’re healthy, you’ll be fine” to “Lockdown” trending on twitter because people WANT the government to shut everything down immediately.

My family is one of the “lucky” ones as Chris works in the public service which is big enough that a lot of people will be able to work from home (although the system is definitely not strong enough for it to go smoothly or to work for everyone) and I suspect we won’t lose any pay. Our kids are extremely screen addicted and will cope very well with being socially isolated for weeks on end. I already work from home (except for when I’m selling books at fairs/festivals, so I’ve already lost some income there and will continue to do so for some time). I even have a new book that I just started writing! I’ll talk more about that later, I promise.

A lot of people—particularly casual workers—are going to have a very hard time. Disabled and chronically ill people are already having a bad time (being treated as even more expendable than usual), and are also more likely to die, and are also extremely likely to have necessary services (such as nurse visits or people who deliver their groceries for them) cut off. Please check on anyone you know who’s elderly, disabled, chronically ill, or suffering income-wise.

In health terms, Chris still has a sore throat and headache but no fever.

TJ is five and a hypochondriac. When he feels sick, I generally ask him what hurts and then ask him if his elbows hurt, telling him that if his elbows hurt then it’s serious. Sure enough, his elbows always hurt under those circumstances. Then he starts naming other painful body parts. But my careful questioning yesterday seemed to support the statements that he has a sore/nauseous stomach and a sore throat.

I have a sore throat, migraine, body aches, diarrhea, and nausea. All of those are pretty standard (fibromyalgia is a disease of the nervous system, so it’s all about that widespread pain and fatigue), although I’m not usually nauseous. I don’t feel feverish at all.

Louisette is fine.

Yesterday was actually a surprisingly eventful day. We had two visitors (from whom I kept my distance, even though I felt like a fool). My Mum dropped by to pick up some stuff my sister’s kids had left here, and to drop off half of a sign that we are painting together. The sign is very exciting. It’s also very hard to photograph, since it’s displayed inside a window and the glass is very reflective.

This photo probably isn’t as exciting to you as it is to me. It’s not, as it might seem at first glance, a photo of our rubbish bins. The “Through Rooms” sign is metallic paint on a sheet of copper. We will eventually finish the other side, and the whole thing will say:

Shooting Through

Escape Rooms

But in any case it’s not super urgent to finish it since I can’t run the escape room at the moment. So every who sees it will just be left pondering what “Through Rooms” could possibly mean.

My second visitor was a friend who had offered a few days ago to do shopping for me if necessary… and although it definitely wasn’t technically necessary, it was certainly useful. Here’s the list I gave her, and how it all went down (italics is for things that I suspected might not be in stock):

6 litres full cream milk [for Tim and Chris for a week] – success!

A bottle of maple syrup (see yesterday’s recipe) – success!

A frozen Hawaiian pizza – success!

A pack of frozen salmon (again, for yesterday’s recipe) – success!

20ish apples – success!

10L lactose free long-life full cream milk (Louisette and I go through at least 10L/week) – utter failure! There was not a single litre to be had. Luckily I just bought some the other day so we’re okay for at least this week.

6L normal (ie with lactose) long life full cream milk – success, just… she had to buy the expensive organic stuff. Which she did, because she loves me.

2 packs roll-ups – success!

1 loaf white bread – success!

1 wheel of brie – success!

4 pack of non-diet ginger beer – success!

Aldi ‘Confidence’ toilet paper – hah! Nope.

1 pack frozen peas: There were none to be had anywhere, but she spotted a pack lurking behind unrelated items in the frozen food section and literally climbed into the fridge to GET FELICITY THOSE PEAS BECAUSE AIN’T NO FRIEND OF CHEVELLE GONNA GO WITHOUT FROZEN PEAS WHEN SHE SAID SHE WANTED FROZEN PEAS. SUCCESS BABY!

Dear frightened friends, we’ve all seen the footage of people fighting over toilet paper in an especially bogan corner of Australia. It’s a scary time, not just because of the COVID-19 virus but because fear brings out the worst in people. Please remember my friend climbing into a supermarket refrigerator and take heart. Times like this bring out the best in people too.

Be best, my dear ones. Be best.

Be like Zipper.

My poor able-bodied husband was a bit embarrassed that I let someone fetch my groceries like that, especially the ginger beer and Brie (in his ignorance, he considers them non-essential items). I have many many years of practice at being dependent on others, and with the way things are going we (that is, everyone in Australia) may not be able to go shopping for much longer. No one is going to starve, but everyone is going to have to go without something (eg their favourite brand of noodles). Don’t forget to stock up on treats.


There was a minor miscommunication over dinner and the pizza was entirely consumed by the not-Felicity members of the household. Which is fine really, since I’m intolerant of both ham and pineapple anyway… and I had Brie and crackers for my dinner. Yum.


My son TJ is hilarious. Yesterday he ran a series of experiments to test which one of his hands was:

1. Heavier

2. Faster

3. Better at punching air

4. Better at slicing air

His conclusion based on vigorous experimentation was that his hands weigh the same, and are equally proficient at punching and slicing air. However, he informed me that his left hand is slightly faster than his right. (He is right-handed, so there may be a tiny flaw in his research somewhere.)

He also tried Brie for the first time.

He liked it, but declared that he was full after one piece. Excellent. I ain’t sharing my brie with the kids.


Resource of the day:

Recipe for perfect stovetop popcorn (warning: DO NOT burn popcorn. It is an extraordinarily noxious smell).


1 tablespoon oil

1/3c popping corn (it’s quite hard to find in shops; usually on the top shelf)

salt, butter, sugar, cinnamon, etc

1. Put oil into a saucepan, add three corn kernels, put the lid on, and put it on medium heat for around 5 minutes (if you are absent-minded or have fibromyalgia or some other brain-breaking condition, put on a timer for five minutes, then two minutes, then one minute).

2. When all three kernels are popped, remove the pan from the heat. Take the three popped kernels from the pan with tongs and throw them away.

3. Add the rest of the kernels, put the lid on, and count out one minute (I use the timer again).

4. Put the saucepan back on the heat, shaking it every so often to move the kernels around. Keep the lid on a slight angle so steam can escape (but not popcorn).

5. When there are no pops for 10 seconds, turn off the stove and pour your popcorn into a bowl/s. Add your salt/sugar/etc as you like, using the hot saucepan to melt butter if you’re adding butter.

I use about a tablespoon of butter, twice as much icing sugar, and 1/4 tsp of salt.

I eat the whole lot myself, but it could easily serve four people.

Recommended donation of the day: Check on your retail workers, elderly neighbours/parents/friends, and disabled/chronically ill people. Assuming you’re well, it may be useful to grocery shop for them and/or clean their home surfaces.

Recommended personal action of the day: Clean every doorknob, light switch, and handle you can find in your home and/or car and/or office. People are very likely to mock you if you do this in public, but do it anyway.

Today’s recommended item to hoard: Fresh herb plants. Hopefully you can keep them alive long enough to keep eating them (fresh greens) until the virus crisis is over.

1 Comment

  1. The Virus Diaries: Rationing | crazy talk said,

    […] zero and day 1 of the Virus […]

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