Just as there is a need for a bigger boat in the film Jaws, we need of a bigger scale to describe how serious the pandemic situation is. The real numbers are double the highest level, so bad and serious are bad and serious, just more so. We are lock-down even if it isn't officially declared, and we are sitting calmly on our bums (This is a real quote by the Dutch minister of health, "when the national pandemic authority tells you to sit still on your ass, you sit on your ass, met je kont op de bank zitten".)
So while the world is raging in fury outside, we have closed the door and live in our bubble.
And oh we are in a bubble. I fear the day we will need to re-enter civilization again. Our language deteriorates into shared grunts, the sauce is happily licked off the plates after dinner and we have invented our own celebrations. With winter solstice as the main party we will this year celebrate twelve historical astronomers or physicists with one arriving with presents, one per day from 10 December (2020) onwards. The list is chronological from Ptolemy to Hawkins. Extra celebrations for Lucia and the Gregorian New Year. As I am a natural pagan and and he is scientifically trained, this is our new ritual.
Oh, yes, wonderfully much so.
This is our safe house and we hold a month of basic supplies. We are not going anywhere and we are not going to evacuate. So we are eating up and using up the content of the camping equipment, the bug-out bag and all luxury articles. All travel kits are used up and the miniature bottles are kept for re-use. They will be refilled when we pack up to go somewhere next time.
Most important progress in the last month, is that we finally managed to do the annual renovation project. After 2017 Closet, 2018 Bedroom, 2019 Office, it was time for the more limited 2020 bathrooms.
We have painted the walls and the pipes of our toilet and our shower room. As in most Dutch apartments, these are separate rooms. Neither room needed much work beyond painting. The toilet needs a new vinyl flooring but as soon as we can find somebody to sell what we want, it is an easy job to put in.
We had everything we needed, including brushes and paint. No cost and actually very little work. Huge difference and a great sense of achievement.
Inspired by the story in Graham Green's Travels with My Aunt, we have taken to travel with wanderlust from room to room in the apartment. We eat in different places with enjoyment. Instead of the normal dining room table, we for example made a French bistro in our kitchen for a romantic meal. We dined out in French for a week. Our kitchen really isn’t big enough for a table but since we now work at home, a bar table has been constructed in front of the window. It gave the man a much needed working space. Sure, it is in the way and makes opening the oven dangerous but it is only temporary. The French Bistro was so close to the stove that it was probably more a teppanyaki bar than a bistro. But since it is only temporary... It is temporary, isn’t it? It is! Surely!! Aaaaa...
We also have had a pick nick in the walk in closet; packing a basket, putting a blanket down, sitting on pillows. It was funny and uncomfortable. There was also an unexpectedly warm day so we had a summer lunch on the balcony, dressed in white and complete with lemonade and mixed salads. The beach lunch in the shower room, complete with candles and water dripping, was also funny as well as uncomfortable. Bathing costume required and no, it is not really big enough for two. But none of that really mattered, it creates changes and break habits so much appreciated. A little crazy goes a long way in creating fun.
Money is not a worry. With a financial independence number (FI) of 49,37 the last weeks has seen a drop. We all know why. I have decided to not even bother by the chaos in the world. Nothing I can do about it, nothing I want to do about it and survival is worth a lot. The financial independence number is calculated as the sum from adding all assets I have control over, and dividing with my annual budget (not costs, just the budget) and hoping that future dividends and interests will take care of cost increases. The FI-number dropped to 40 in March 2020, and has came up again. It can drop to 30 for all I care. If it lasts thirty years, the pension funds which are not included in the above number as they are outside of my control, will have been paying out for almost fifteen years. There will at least be something to live on even in worst case scenario. Even that, should be better than now.
So we have enough and will be focusing on health, love and independence from now on.
This month I have been outside ten times, made candles from old left overs, sewn some more garments, harvested the last of the balcony garden, studied languages, and sorted through documents for next years tax declaration. Later on I will make home-made sushi for tonight which we will eat sitting on the living room floor dressed in kimonos (bathrobes actually, but nobody will be able to tell).