Day in the Life of a Covid Family

Photo by Edward Jenner on Pexels.com

April 3, 2020

00.00-04.00 Son: ‘HouseParty’ chat: is Govt decision re A levels fair? Dad’s view is we’ve ‘got away with murder’ like someone called OJ Simpson. Friendship group agree Boomers like him have lost touch with reality and must be helped through these difficult times, despite their guilt viz climate change. Play ‘Overwatch’ for 4 hours with friends, including someone called Aubergine, who seemed very needy.

06.00 Mother: Listen to dawn chorus and LBC phone-in from my window chair. Could be a lovely, sunny day. Wonder if ‘Brief Encounter’ will be on ‘London Live’ again? Start dressing in anticipation. Must be ready for the ‘OAPs’ only breakfast slot which has been allocated me by daughter-in-law. 

07.00 Mother: Find packet of McVitie’s Digestives in underwear draw. Pause dressing to have an early breakfast. Wonder if it is time to give up on trousers? I find them increasingly hard to get my legs into.

08.00 Wife: Woken up by nightmare: global food supply chain has collapsed. Check BBC online: Sainsbury’s shares up several % points. Reassured, lie back and wonder if husband will bring a cup of tea, as promised last night.

09.00 Mother: Notice on bedroom door reminds me I am not allowed out of the room until ‘Jeeves’ (i.e. son) comes. Didn’t realise Kitchener had done a poster asking people to stay in their rooms? Should take pills but finish off the packet of McVitie’s instead.

09.30 Me: Wake up wondering what will be on my list which wife gives me each morning. I still have some tasks left over from yesterday. Decide I should continue to try to be like ‘Jeeves’ i.e. helpful, supportive. Generally obey orders. Comb crumbs and cat hair from my pyjamas before heading downstairs. 

09.45 Wife: Lots to do. Write out task lists for everyone & jot down 2-3 personal ‘stretch goals’ for the day. Hear husband go downstairs. If he offers me a cup of tea, do I say: ‘You’re an hour late’ or ‘Thank you, just what I wanted’?

10.30 Me:  Wife appreciative of the cup of tea I take her. Not that hard to please them after all! Feeling good about today: sun is out and there are only two new tasks on the list wife has given me. I could be watching movies by mid-afternoon.

11.00 Mother:  Hot cross bun and tea for breakfast. Start ironing. Only two hours until ‘Brief Encounter’ which means grandson won’t be out of bed until it’s over to dispute control of TV. Son is annoyingly civil for the second day in a row. Makes jokes about being ‘Jeeves’, not funny. Wish he’d stop wearing pyjamas all day. His father would be ashamed.

12.00 Son: Wake up by mistake. Watch ‘Tik Toks’ for a bit. No Houseparty chat scheduled till midnight. If I get up, will have to disinfect the bannisters outside Granny’s room. Pull duvet overhead and go back to sleep.

12.45 ME:  Lunch is a buffet. We serve ourselves and scatter to the four corners of the kitchen to eat. Mother has earlier sitting alone in front of TV. Mother only eats soup or apple crumble or biscuits willingly. Very annoying. Says she’s not hungry, but I suspect she has a stash of chocolate biscuits upstairs, like a gerbil. What would Jeeves do? I eat in the sunny garden by myself. Which is nice, as that character in the ‘Fast Show’ used to say.

14.00 Son: Being veggie in a Boomer household is hell. Only thing they’ve left me for lunch is a tomato. Dad says: ‘Hard cheddar’. But there isn’t any cheddar in the fridge? They’re punishing me for getting up late. Furiously, boil up a tin of Heinz Tomato Soup, even though mum has forbidden using tinned food at this stage of the crisis. Tough. It’s not my fault if Covid-19 is exposing gaps in their parenting skills. Go back to bed with soup.

16.00 Me: Reports GPs may not send elderly and frail to hospital and care homes are filling out DNR notices on elderly residents, disturbing. Feels like a death sentence for old that get ill. Start of triage? Write to GP for clarification:  what help does Mother get if she were to show Covid symptoms?

17.00 Wife:  Prepare questions for this evening’s family quiz. Holding quiz over Zoom. Spend 3 hours on phone to my mother setting it up for her. My ‘What connects…’ question will have them floundering like whales in the shallows.

19.00 Mother: Family want me to do a thing called ‘Zooming’. Ghastly. Go to bed with a book, instead.

21.30 Wife: Headache. Do Family Quiz on Zoom from bed. It’s a great success. Whoop! Whoop! Husband brings decaf tea up & tells me he plans to become a new man, model on Jeeves, whose selfless dedication to service he admires. Clearly, been drinking. I shall insist he washes his pyjamas tomorrow.

23.00 Son: Watched ‘Ready or not’ with dad. Great movie.

23.15 Me: Watched ‘Ready or not’ with son. Utter crap. Start ‘Carry On, Jeeves.’ Wonder how he would have dealt with Covid? Lay out a new pair of pyjamas for the morning.

00.00 Son: Bloody internet’s gone down.

Published by Man in the Middle

This is the diary of a man balancing the needs of his aged Mother and family as they struggle with multi-generational living. It's about what happens to your life when your Mother moves in.

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