Diary of a Covid Family

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April 7:


Son: ‘Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ = lock down life saver!  Dad would love it. ‘Houseparty’ chat: DEEP!  Is work necessary? Friendship Group agree it wouldn’t be that bad if none of us gets a job for the next decade because of the economic impact of Covid-19. So what if Boomers will have to ‘liquidate’ their housing / pension assets early and reallocate them to Gen Z (us)? Another upside will be hitting the zero net emissions target early.  


Mother: Peel a banana. Pop pills. What day is it? Who cares?


Me: What time is it? Who cares? Plump pillow and go back to sleep.


Son:  Wake up dreaming I’m cocooned in a jet engine. Actually, it’s dad next door, snoring. Lean the spare mattress and bean bags against his door to muffle the noise. He needs to see someone about the snoring.


Wife: Tuesday. Call mum, sister, daughter, assorted girlfriends and work. Decide we will phone each other every morning at this time to make our days run to schedule. ‘F’ says ‘Planning is the midwife of perfection’ and she’s right. Husband snoring (two floors away!). Make note to send him to an ENT surgeon when Covid over.


Mother: Arrive for my OAP ‘special access’ breakfast slot. No food on the table, must be my son’s turn to organise breakfast. Take 3 slices of lemon drizzle cake. Is the cake reserved for a special occasion? Guiltily, go upstairs wondering if I have forgotten my own birthday or worse someone else’s. Loud rumblings somewhere. Is washing machine exploding?


Me: Wow! Woken by my own snoring. A first! See fresh B&W striped pyjamas on bedside chair, crisp as an iceberg lettuce. Heart lifts. Mother may be 96 but she still knows how to handle an iron. I spent an amiable hour or two watching her yesterday and there’s no question it’s skilled work.


Wife: Haven’t the heart to tell Mother-in-Law the Lemon Drizzle wasn’t for her. Will adapt schedule and bake another. Tesco delivery this pm. Will husband help? Will he be properly dressed if he does? He’s an old dog, relearning slovenly tricks. Do I care anymore?


Mother: Ironing. Son, still in pyjamas, asks if I want to watch Rakuten TV. Tell him it would insult the Queen to watch Japanese TV in the current crisis. Ask him to put on BBC News and get dressed.  


Me: The man from Tesco’s not in the least bit put off by my pyjamas. Actually, he complimented the black and white striped pattern, saying they ‘reminded him of prison’. To me, it was a ‘Band of Brothers’ moment, exactly the ‘we’re in this together’ spirit Queen referenced the other day. Wife thinks he was taking the piss. Realise she has not forgiven me for the cock up over the ‘unbreakfast’ this morning.  This afternoon I will make up for this by going into ‘Super Jeeves’ mode and clean all baths and showers!


Son: Accidentally, wake up. Go back to bed immediately.  


Me: Crick back while scrubbing the ensuite bath. To relieve the pain, I roll forward into the bath, dropping the bottle of Domestos under me. Back goes into traction. Unable to get out of the bath, wonder what Captain Fantastic, my parenting hero, would do in this situation? Worried the Domestos, which is seeping into the bath, will ruin my pyjamas.


Mother: Whimpering noise somewhere won’t stop. Is cat hurt? Track noise to daughter-in-law’s bathroom where son is lying in bath, in wet pyjamas. He reminds me of a dugong, my deceased husband’s favourite animal.  Tell him to stop whimpering like a hog. Wants to know if I’ll pull him out! What have I done to deserve this? Call daughter in law up to share the shame.  


Wife: Husband has surpassed himself. Stuck in the bath in two inches of Domestos. Decide to hose him down with the handheld shower to dilute the Domestos. Quite good fun, actually.


Son: Woken up by a terrible whining noise and Granny laughing uncontrollably. Go down to find mum dowsing dad as he lies in the bath. He has a terribly serious face on and doesn’t say a word. Mum and I pull him out of the bath. Seems my Covid weights work out is working!


Me:  Skin itches badly, back stiff. In bed with dry pyjamas and ‘Carry on, Jeeves’. Wife and Mother sharing jokes on the landing. Every time one of them says the word ‘dugong’ they fall about laughing. Why?


Daughter: Just got off phone to Mother. Whatsapp pictures of dad in bath are disturbing: he needs to lose weight. Look up ‘dugong’ and agree with Granny there is a resemblance.  


Wife: Husband’s clowning knocked a hole in the schedule and ruined the day. I shall christen today – the Day of the Domestos Disaster. Go to bed early with a large gin & tonic. Still have a funny story to tell the girls on tomorrow’s call. Dugong!


Mother: Finish off a packet of jammy dodgers. As I nod off, I see the open packet slip to the floor and the cat come up to it.


Son: House empty, like a ghost movie. Cat is on the dining room table licking the butter. Are he and I all that’s left of civilization? Who cares? Boot up ‘Animal Crossing’.

Published by Man in the Middle

Ecce Man in the Middle. The stale meat in the inter-generational sandwich.