The Virus Diaries: CoroNaNo?

March 18, 2020 at 6:14 pm (Fully Sick, general life, Mum Stuff, Steampunk, Writing Ranting)

The greatest excitement yesterday was five year-old TJ doing a little bit of reading. More on that later.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since Chris went to work yesterday, he also went shopping. We’re still in that grey area of prepping for full-blown isolation and rather half-arsing it in the meantime.

The ennui of staying at home has already got to me a little, and I also had the classic school-holiday moment of getting to about 3pm yesterday and just wanting to shut down. Those who are chronically ill will be familiar with the sensation of running low on spoons (you can read about Spoon Theory if you like). I DID get both kids to shower and do some schoolwork, plus of course playing the wii with TJ (Louisette watches TV in her room while drawing, and TJ plays the wii. This is our life now—but while Louisette barely needs anything from me, TJ really wants me to play WITH him. All day, every day). So technically I was A Good Mum (TM) yesterday by my very limited standards, but… tired out, and all too aware of how little I actually did.

I am also “at work” technically (I’ve been working from home for years), but I got almost no writing done this week. (Okay, yes, I wrote a LOT here on the blog, which definitely counts even though it doesn’t get me any money.)

Sunday I was barely functional brain-wise, so decided to call it a ‘Sabbath’ (I try to take one day off per week) and not feel bad.

Monday I didn’t write anything, but I did some outlining.

Tuesday I felt… wrong… about my outline. I went and looked at a different chapter 1 that I wrote and, sure enough, it had a lot more in it. So we’ve established that my outline needs more work. A lot more.

Today is Wednesday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is Zipper snuggling up to TJ in bed. They are adorable. In Zipper’s early days, TJ tried to feed Zipper crackers and to get her to play with his toys. She is naturally cautious of the noisy and fast-moving TJ but she loves him and trusts his gentleness… especially if he’s unconscious.

Anyway.

Today was meant to be about suggesting at-home projects for people to do, specifically writing a novel. (The title is a reference to NaNoWriMo aka ‘National Novel Writing Month’, in which people around the world attempt to write the first draft of the first 50,000 words of a book in a month.)

I still do recommend that. Is there something around your house you’ve always meant to fix/paint/assemble/disassemble/weed/plant/etc? Now (or soon) is your moment!

Of course that includes writing a novel. Or a short story. Or a poem.

I’ve always been extremely self-motivated and (with the exception of what I eat) self-disciplined. I wrote about 15 novels/a million words (yes I literally lost count) before I was first published. (That first book was my Australian fantasy steampunk novel, Heart of Brass, which you can buy online and I’ll sign and send it to you. It’s now part of a completed and published trilogy. I can send the whole thing to you, in fact, or you can get it at Amazon or your local bookshop.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It looks like today will be a day of thinking about how bad the outline of the book is until something occurs to me that makes it better. To be honest, I think I tend to shove too much plot into a small space, so what I need is to let my character slow down and have lots of little bumps along the way to the main goal.

Yes, that’s the solution. I just need to let it bubble for a bit so I think of some “little bumps” that show character and the environment of the story.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The story is called “Dr Jekyll and Mr Holmes”. It’s an interactive novel, so the reader will choose the personality and strengths of both Dr Jekyll and Mr/Ms Hyde. Hyde can be evil or not, as the reader chooses. Sherlock Holmes and Irene Adler will both appear as romantic options, and there is a murderer on the loose in Victorian London. . .

It’s set in the same magical steampunk universe as all my steampunk tales (there’s a semi-coherent list here that I keep fairly up to date). It’s not my first time using actual historical characters. The above picture is Miss Lavevski, an absolutely real, famous, and accomplished equestrian of the Victorian era who performed in a circus. Isn’t she spectacular? She appears in my longest interactive steampunk tale, Choices That Matter: And Their Souls Were Eaten. You can get it for your device via iOS or Google Play. There are three stories in the app, and I’m deeply involved in all three. The app has over 1.5 million downloads. (Which is seriously impressive, I gotta say.)

* * *

Let’s talk grocery stores and empty shelves. As you know, I’m immunocompromised, self-isolating, and extremely limited in what I eat.

A day of (relatively) “safe” eating for me would look like this:

Breakfast:

Special K and full cream lactose free milk and two squares of chocolate. (I can eat most other cereals but Special K is probably the healthiest thing I regularly eat. The chocolate gets me out of bed and also keeps me regular.)

Morning Tea: Milo.

Lunch: Brie sandwich on white bread (I usually dither between the less-safe alternatives of mi goreng with egg and/or cheese (that’s what I had today), a sandwich with cheese and avocado/beetroot—I don’t like cheese on its own but avocado and beetroot are both equal parts delicious and dangerous due to FODMAPS—or peanut butter and jam—both of which are not safe foods for me as nuts contain salicylates and jam contains fruit).

Afternoon Tea: Milo + cheese and crackers + lollies/chocolate.

Dinner: Roasted Lamb/Chicken and potatoes (safer without gravy or any kind of sauce) or frozen fish and chips. Usually some sweet potato and/or carrots. Zucchini if I’m being extremely impressive (it’s my safest green vegetable). The maple-marinated salmon is pretty good, although I do react a little to peas. I can also have tuna mornay fairly safely.

Supper: Milo and popcorn and lollies (popcorn is mildly unsafe digestively speaking but I figure it’s healthier than more chocolate).

So I basically live on Special K, cheese (which has some lactose but way less than milk), lactose free full cream milk, chocolate, lollies, milo, lamb (chicken just grosses me out for some reason, and so does fish—I can handle each type about once a week but I could easily eat lamb every day), and potatoes.

I have 2-3 weeks’ worth of most things, but only a weeks’ worth of lactose free full cream milk. Chevelle looked for it on Sunday and Chris looked for it yesterday with no luck.

I started stocking up on groceries when there was still toilet paper in the shops, and since Chris was able to find some frozen fish yesterday Louisette will be fine for quite a while. But yes, I’m very anxious about the possibility of running out of my small list of safe foods. So am I, a self-isolating diabetic & chronically ill mother of two, deserving of more milk? Or am I, a fat person who barely even tries to control her blood sugar, takes money from healthy taxpayers, and isn’t able to provide adequate long-term care for her kids, undeserving?

Everyone wants to keep their family safe, and to give them all their usual foods and supplies. I get that. Don’t give someone a death glare just because they’re buying the last pack of toilet paper. They might need it, or they might be getting it for someone who does.

Let’s be clear though: Anyone who has more than 6 weeks’ worth of stuff stocked up and no plans to share it is a terrible person (or, if this is your normal way of living and you had the food before the crisis, a bit of a genius really). That’s where I draw the line.

Any person with a young and healthy household who has recently hoarded more than 2 weeks’ worth of essentials (toilet paper, cleaning products, meat, etc) is also someone who had better be giving that stuff away (or selling it at the normal retail price) to those who need it more, starting now.

Any person who is selling anything essential (any kind of food, hygiene, or cleaning item) for inflated prices needs to stop now and sell them for a normal price. Even twice normal price is okay for a lot of things. I understand that some people make a living selling stuff online, or that selling stuff might be their only source of income at the moment due to casual workers not having work. But this is not a good time to be making a killing. Because people are literally dying, and many many more are suffering in less dramatic ways.

My current toilet paper supply is enough for 1-2 weeks, although there’s still a lot of diarrhea in the house so things could get tricky soon.

My mum has a cold (“OR IS IT MORE???” says the internet) and is now self-isolating. She’s going to finish painting the copper signs for me, so that’s handy!

Chris will be working from home tomorrow, and probably Friday. His work, part of the public service, is doing a clever thing where half the centre works from home each day. Why is that clever (I hear you ask) when that means everyone is still exposed to the total amount of germs at the centre? It’s clever because it’s a great step along the way to having everyone stay home. They will find and figure out a LOT of bugs (the computer kind) by doing this, and hopefully when the time comes for everyone to work from home they will be ready.

I rather hope that when the coronavirus is a memory, a LOT more people, including Chris, will be able to work from home. Chris’ travelling time is over 2 hours a day, over 10 hours a week! He doesn’t mind it but I sure do, especially when it’s 5:00 and there’s still an hour and a half until Daddy gets home, and everyone is hungry and cranky and tired (especially me).

I’ll talk some other time about my predictions for how the world will change after this. I think the environment will benefit a LOT as we realise how flexible our entire society can be when we actually try to make big changes. And… I don’t want to celebrate any individual person’s sickness or death (even though many politicians cause widespread suffering including sickness and even death so the world is empirically improved if they are not in it)… but a lot of people who refuse to believe scientists (in this case immunologists) are going to die. And hopefully those heroic scientists who have been shouting about climate change for decades will be listened to at last.

 

Resource of the day:

Do you have a Kindy kid staying home? I wrote a nice and easy home-schooling guide for parents of Kindergarten kids that takes as little as ten minutes a day, and is designed for non-teachers. I’ll probably do one for the rest of Primary School pretty soon.

Recommended donation of the day:

Do you know someone in the medical profession? Ask them what you can do to help while they’re under immense stress (and about to face more). Are you able to mind their kids if the kids are sent home from school (even if it’s just one day, or one day a week)? Can you deliver food/toilet paper care packages so they don’t have to deal with shops AND hospital life? These are the kinds of actions that could literally save lives.

Recommended personal action of the day: If it’s sunny, hang all your cushions and doonas and other often-touched but not machine washable items out in the sun for the day. It’s a brilliant free disinfectant.

Recommended hoarding item of the day:

What do you require in order to do that project you’ve been putting off? Notebooks and sweet stationary to plan your novel? Paint for your art (or your gutters)? Tools? Nails? Now is your moment to prepare for that project.

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