Max and Amber at the pumpkin patch

Little Ways the World Has Changed Since the Pandemic

At the pumpkin farmThis Saturday was the date of our long-awaited annual trip to the pumpkin patch.

I mean, I say “annual”: we’ve done it twice now, and the first time was… yeah

This year, however, was going to be different. This year would be the year we would finally embrace autumn the way everyone else does; the year we would run laughing through the golden light, hand in hand, like a montage scene from a Hallmark movie or something. It would be the start (the real start, I mean: last year totally doesn’t count…) of a wonderful family tradition that we’d look back on fondly for the rest of our lives. I couldn’t wait.

Naturally, then, I woke up on Friday morning feeling like I’d been run over by a bus. I was pretty sure it was just a bad cold rather than Covid, but I did have a cough, and, well, we all know what THAT means, so I dragged myself out for a test, then went straight back to bed, where I spent the next 24 hours convincing myself that I probably DID have Covid after all, and that, in addition to all of the other awfulness a positive result would unleash into our lives, my child would end up missing his one and only chance to visit the pumpkin patch this year. WOE!

Priorities, people: priorities.

Max at the pumpkin patch

Thankfully, though –  and as you’ve no doubt guessed from the photos accompanying this post – my test came back negative the next morning, so we DID make it to the farm after all: albeit two hours later than planned, and with just enough time left in our slot for us to pick out our pumpkins. The day was saved: but it did get me thinking a bit about how different our lives are now, because of the pandemic, and all of the changes it’s brought.

I’m not talking about the BIG changes here, because no one needs me to point out what THOSE are, do they? No, I’m talking about the little things: the “first world problem” kind of things that aren’t a particularly big deal, or life-ruiningly awful, but which are nevertheless little daily reminders that, hey, life is different now. So, things like…

Having to book everything in advance, and being restricted to a strict time slot

Back in the days BC (Before Covid), we wouldn’t even have to think twice about whether a random cold would force us to miss a day out: we’d just do it some other time. These days, though, pretty much everything we try to do has to be booked in advance, and there’s a strict time slot you have to stick to, with absolutely no exceptions.

And everywhere is SO BUSY all of a sudden. Seriously, is everywhere busier than usual right now, or am I imagining things? Because, when I realised my test results might not be back in time to allow us to make our designated slot at the pumpkin patch, I immediately tried to-rebook it… only to find that the place was booked solid until the end of the month – and so was everywhere else I could think of with a pick-your-own-pumpkins deal. 

I’m not sure if it’s always been like this, and I’m just remembering things wrong (“Ah, when I were a lass…!“), but it just feels like it’s so much more complicated to arrange things now. Is it just me? 

Which is tricky, because you can’t actually plan anything in advance any more…

… because you never know who’s going to develop a cough, or a bit of a temperature, say, and have to isolate at home until their test results come back.

Even then, it’s pretty much impossible to plan ANYTHING in advance here in Scotland because of the weather. With something like pumpkin picking, for instance, we’d normally just wait for a day when the weather was dry, then turn up, but now we have to take our chances and book weeks in advance for everything, and just hope it’s not raining, and that no one’s isolating on the day. Speaking of which…

Max amongst the pumpkins

Having to take a test every time you have a cough

We’re really fortunate in that we have easy access to testing here, and the results always seem to come back within 24 hours, but, even so, the concept of having to have a medical test every time you have certain symptoms takes a bit of getting used to, doesn’t it?

Don’t get me wrong: I’m glad we have it, and it’s obviously a good thing that people aren’t just walking around in public with symptoms, but Max had to have two separate tests back in June, when a nasty cough was going around his nursery, and I’m REALLY not looking forward to having to swab his nostrils every time he picks up a bug this winter – or my own, for that matter. 

(Yeah, I’m mostly saying that because I instantly – instantly – start gagging the second the swab comes within a hair’s breadth of my tonsils. You don’t even want to know how close I came to throwing up doing that test on Friday. I’ve absolutely no idea how people who have to take multiple tests every week because of their jobs do it: heroes, all of you.)

The words “PCR test” and “lateral flow” becoming part of your everyday vocabulary

Just a couple of years ago, these phrases would’ve been totally alien to most of us, and now they’re just something we use without thinking. Weird.

Not being able to enter your child’s nursery or school

I don’t know if this is the case for everyone, or if it’s just in our area, but Max has been in nursery for 8 months now, and Terry and I have yet to set foot in the place. We used to be allowed to go to the door to drop off and collect him, but, a couple of months ago that was stopped too, so now parents all wait at the gate – masked up, even though it’s outdoors. It’s not a huge issue, obviously, because we still get to meet his teachers at drop-off, and there’s plenty of communication from them to let us know what he’s been up to, but it is a little weird to think he’s spent so much time in a place neither of us have even seen!

Waiting two months for a dental appointment, then having it cancelled on the day, because the dentist has a cough.

OK, so I’m guessing this is more of a “Terry” problem than an “everyone” problem, but our dentist currently has a really long waiting list for appointments, and won’t book Terry in for the filling he know he needs because it requires a different set of PPE than the one he uses normally. Or something. And all of the other dentists in the area seem to be similarly affected. Anyone tried one of those DIY tooth-filling kits? Asking for a husband…

Video calls for everything

See this post. And weep with me.

the chosen pumpkinAsking “are we doing hugs?” when you meet someone 

To hug or not to hug, that is the question? Last year, of course, this was NOT the question, because we had social distancing to answer all of our etiquette dilemmas, but now that that’s gone, it’s more complicated than ever, as you try to work out what everyone’s individual comfort level is with personal contact. God, I miss social distancing

Referring to 2019 as “last year” 

If I’m telling you about something fun I did “last year”, I’m probably talking about 2019, a.k.a. The Last Good Year. I did not do anything fun last year, just FYI. And I think, because of that, it’s almost as if my mind has chosen to just skip over it altogether when its searching for an anecdote or memory. So 2019 is “last year”, and the fact that 2022 is next year is just… I mean, I don’t even know what to do with that information. HOW? Just HOW?

IMPORTANT CAVEAT: 

As I said above, these are all what I’d class as first world problems, obviously – in fact, some aren’t even that – and I know we’d all much rather deal with the minor inconveniences they represent than increase our chances of getting ill, so please read this post in the spirit in which it was intended, which is simply as a collection of observations, rather than complaints. I’m trying to make more of an effort to write this stuff down right now, purely because the last few months have made me realise how quickly things can start to feel “normal”‘, and how easy it is to forget that life wasn’t always like this: so, with that in mind, if you have any other observations to add, drop me a comment!

COMMENTS
  • Myra

    REPLY

    Marsha and Max have been doing lateral flow tests twice a week since schools opened up. Last week Max had a positive test, confirmed by the PCR test two days later. He has had no symptoms apart from a headache, but playing in the small garden with Teddy for a little while (with nobody in sight) cleared the headaches. He has isolated in his tiny bedroom while his mum had to go to work every day. Door handles etc are sterilised when he has to go to the bathroom and ten days with no cuddles or any human contact for a young teenager after months and months of school closures and home schooling takes its toll. I am sure Covid has a more extreme effect on youngsters than adults .

    October 20, 2021
  • Myra

    REPLY

    Marsha and Max have been doing lateral flow tests twice a week since schools opened up. Last week Max had a positive test, confirmed by the PCR test two days later. He has had no symptoms apart from a headache, but playing in the small garden with Teddy for a little while (with nobody in sight) cleared the headaches. He has isolated in his tiny bedroom while his mum had to go to work every day. Door handles etc are sterilised when he has to go to the bathroom and ten days with no cuddles or any human contact for a young teenager after months and months of school closures and home schooling takes its toll. I am sure Covid has a more extreme effect on youngsters than adults .

    October 20, 2021
  • Miss Kitty

    REPLY

    I don’t know what it’s like in the UK, but in Australia we are getting used to going to the shops and they are out of stock of what you want. So you order and it takes weeks to arrive. Seems like it’s the new normal now 🤔 We ordered a new car back in March, and are still waiting for it to arrive!

    October 21, 2021
      • Miss Kitty

        REPLY

        We can’t blame it on Brexit out here, I read somewhere that economists have been predicting something like this happening for a long time now, because global supply chains have got so complicated, COVID just brought it to a head. Everything, from bikes to furniture to iPads, is in short supply right now, and you wait weeks for it to arrive. USPS has stopped shipping to Aus & NZ because the borders are closed and they have such a backlog of parcels waiting to try and get here, normally they would come with regular flights but there are hardly any of those now. Hopefully with borders reopening next year, the situation will start to stabilise a bit!

        Another thing that has become normal is grabbing a face mask before you head out anywhere. It’s become part of my bag, along with my keys and cellphone.

        October 22, 2021
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