The New Normal

Back in 2020 when we had our first big taste of COVID, when all the world was locked in and celebrities got together to do online concerts to keep their own and the world’s spirits up, we began to talk about the new normal

Back in 2020 when most of the world’s cars and planes were off the road and out of the sky, the air was crystal clear and the horizon went that bit further.  We talked about the new normal enthusiastically. (We especially welcomed those clear skies in eastern Australia after a summer of fire.)

When many of the office-bound workers and their bosses figured out you could actually work from home more productively and cut out that commute, we got really excited about the new normal.

The new normal in 2021

In 2021, when we were yo-yo-ing between lockdowns, learning from home, getting our jabs we felt a ripple of pride. Even though we were locked in, at least the hospitals were coping. The infection rate was heading in the right direction. The supermarket shelves were full. No one was panic buying toilet paper anymore! Ha! That was so 2020!!  

The new normal was just becoming “how we have to do it around here”. We had our routine down pat with our day briefly punctuated by our 11 o’clock coffee for Gladys’ presser. Oh my, we’d say, 600 cases in one day! 

The newer normal in 2022

Then came Freedom Day and here in NSW, we had a change in Premier. This change coincided rather neatly with a change in COVID variant. As it turns out, those coinciding events have come to be a perfect storm. 

Dom said it’s time we got used to this virus and learnt to live with it. We need to save the economy. Let it rip. And rip it has. 

Sums it up well! (Source: Timeout Magazine)

As you know infection rates have soared, hospitals already under stress are now close to breaking point.  Medical staff who haven’t had a chance to rest since 2020 are now sick themselves.  According to the ABC, nearly 50% of the workforce in NSW are off work due to the effects of COVID. They are either sick or isolated because of being a close contact.  

Dom and Scott decided the best way to deal with this emergency was to change the rules about isolation. Shorten the time and tinker with the definition of close contact. 

HELLO????? Hello, leaders????  

Um, I’m no epidemiologist but won’t that just mean that MORE of our essential workers will get COVID??

Supermarket shelves are now empty, not because of panic buying but because truckies are home with a fever and the food industry has no one to run its production lines. 

Good job on saving the economy, boys! Things are worse now than when we were locked down. This is not the new normal we were looking for.

I sure hope you kept growing those veggies you planted in 2020. You’re really going to need them this time. 

Minimalism and moving

A few weeks (hang on maybe it was months!) ago, I posted that I was moving to Armidale. I have a job and now I have somewhere to live. As I begin to pack up my house, I am overwhelmed by how much stuff I have! The overwhelm is exacerbated by the fact that to get an affordable price for the removalist,  I am sharing a truck with someone else and have a defined space limit. 

In the past, I have had the truck to myself and have just chucked everything in boxes. This time, every box I pack represents a fraction of a square metre in a truck I don’t have room for. 

Frugal living? Maybe not!

How did I get so much stuff? I have been living a relatively frugal life for the past five years. I have had two “buy nothing” years. I have followed a one in one out rule. I bought nothing new. I had rules! Yet, my cupboards are full. Where did it all come from? Does stuff breed behind closed wardrobe doors? 

The pile grows!

Keeping memories

I have the standard three piles happening; keep, donate and throw out. Unfortunately not much is landing in the throw away or donate pile. While none of it, not one skerrick of it is actually junk, (!) there are a lot of memories. I am struggling to cultivate a minimalist attitude al laThe Minimalists” who propose that memories are thoughts and you don’t need to keep the physical object. They suggest you take a photo.  I have written about my attachment to memories through physical objects before. The idea of getting rid of perfectly good items makes me twitch!

I can feel myself getting frustrated because most of the “memories” I have, I use. They serve a dual purpose. They are functional and connect my to my family. I like using my Grandmothers’ vases. I like stirring my cake mix in her bowl with her wooden spoon. I like using the ancient and wonky flour sifter. It’s at least 60 years old, and even though it’s a bit wonky, it still works. However, even I have to admit that I don’t need the pineapple shaped plates I bought a few years ago, regardless of how cute they are!

These ones did go to the op shop!

Ruthlessness is not my strong suit.

Even though I have made some very bold trips to the garbage bin and dropped off a car load at the op shop, the pile of boxes is growing. I have a limit of sixty boxes. I am up to thirty and I still haven’t started with the essential stuff I am still using. I have two weeks to develop a more ruthless approach! 

Wish me luck!

More than Thanks

On Tuesday 7th December, the New South Wales Teachers Federation had its first full day strike in ten years with the launch of the “More than Thanks” Campaign. I went to the rally in Sydney to support the cause. The rally was very well attended with an estimated 15,000 people marching from Hyde Park to NSW Parliament House. It was loud but peaceful. The only police interaction occurred when a group of people opposed to vaccination chose to interfere with the procession.

There is a chronic and worsening teacher shortage. This is especially concerning in “hard to staff” schools in rural and remote areas. Classroom teachers are opting not to step up to leadership positions because the workload is crippling and the extra pay not enough to cover the enormous increase in expectations. Principals are especially burdened by non-teaching related activities. They are expected to be business managers, accountants, HR managers, and expert teachers. They are expected to respond to parents on a nearly 24/7 basis. Further, many of the so called ‘opt-in’ processes are later deemed mandatory, leaving schools scrambling to collect the revered ‘data’.

Although the school was non-operational on that day, the comments on the school’s Facebook page were supportive. It’s obvious that if smart young people are not attracted to the profession it won’t be long before there is no-one qualified to teach our children.

I am subject to a Code of Conduct so it is not possible (even here on a private blog) to state my opinion only facts, but suffice to say I will willingly lose a day’s pay. You can read about the issues I chose to support on the NSWTF campaign website.

Covid lock downs and remote learning, has earned teachers lots of praise, but we need more than that. We need More than Thanks.

More than Thanks Rally.