It’s been a roller coaster week.
Monday we went to work and school as normal, albeit with a low hum of menace in the atmosphere. Monday afternoon NZ had moved to “alert level 3” on a brand new pandemic alert level metric, with the move to “alert level 4” planned for midnight Weds.
The kids’ school sent out a notice to parents that school was closed starting Tuesday, except for kids whose parents were working in “essential services.” These parents had two more days when they could send their kids to school and make frantic arrangements for childcare during the next 4 weeks of planned nation-wide shut down.
Jeremiah found his engineering profession on that list, and I figured the veggie transplant portion of Zealandia, as part of the food system, would count as essential. We sent the kids to school Tuesday.
At work I spent the day understanding the government rules of how to change our work habits to avoid spreading virus, and crafting messages to our site managers and staff, and making up doorknob sterilizing solution. When I went to pick them up at 3:00 the school campus was deserted, no school crossing, no kids on the playgrounds. I found the kids in their classrooms and discovered that out of a school body of 700 children, ours were two of the 18 students who had attended that day. Mommy guilt.
I went to work on Wednesday hoping to learn what I’d be doing for the next four weeks. Would I be essential enough to keep working?
Apparently I’m not essential. On my way out the door at 3:00 my boss said thanks, but I could stay home the next day….and every day, unless the growing team started dropping and they need someone to water plants.
Optimistic that rubbish collection would count as an essential service, I teetered out to the end of the drive in high heels, dragging the bins. Our neighbor happened to be on his way past, and he stopped for a socially-distanced (2m away) chat. Milo sashayed down the driveway at that moment, blue eyelids fluttering.
“Day one of social isolation, eh?” Campbell observed, with a smirk.