We wake up slightly hungover with not even the promise of some salty bacon, eggs or vegemite to absorb the effect. Sunday is cornflakes day and I’ve already decided I won’t be bothering with it. I stick to the yoghurt back-up supplemented with a large blueberry muffin. The muffin doesn’t seem too sweet to begin with but the sweetness seems to build as I make my way through and I have to abandon the last mouthfuls.
Day 12 means it’s second PCR test time. We are expecting them to come knocking some time in the morning and I anxiously migrate around the room once we’ve finished breakfast, compulsively checking the peephole for the presence of healthworkers in the hallway. They don’t come, even after I’m through my physio exercises, Day 11 blog post, and cursory clean of the bathroom. I check the hallway again, but there’s nothing, so I take a shower and make myself another instant coffee. The fresh milk we bought on Day 1 is almost out.
We check the lunch menu and they are serving pesto pasta salad with smoked chicken. It wasn’t too bad last week, although really they could have left out the pasta and focused on the salad mix. I remember that dinner will be the lamb “tagine” they served last Sunday with the wet sponge dessert so I tell Michael to keep an eye on the lunch competition so that we can perhaps keep the chicken salads for later. Today he is successful and we secure ourselves another “Hellfire burger.” It’s nearing 11.45am when we hear a knock at the door. I’m expecting the lunch delivery until I hear the call “WA Health!” They’re finally here!
Michael masks up, pulls the door open a crack and speaks to the European chick clad in the usual bright blue PPE. She and her colleague take down Michael’s date of birth and mobile number then I come forward and recite my mobile number from behind my black mask. “Who wants to go first?” she asks. Given I’m already in the doorway, I volunteer, and after checking my details which are printed on the sample vial, pull down my mask and wait while she probes first down my throat then into each nostril. The throat one takes me by surprise and I gag slightly until I remember to relax and open wide. Michael goes next and given I don’t hear any coughing or choking sounds I assume it goes pretty well.
We close the door and shortly after there is another knock – chicken salads have arrived. We rifle through the bag to split out what we want to keep and are scandalized to find two cans of diet coke included. Luckily we have enough soda stores to keep us going – we don’t usually drink soda anyway except when on vacation and it’s part of a Maccas meal deal or substitute for beer – but diet coke is something I can’t abide, on the same level as Dr. Pepper and Sarsparilla. Evidently we’re not the only ones with a similar intolerance – the guy across the hall from us leaves his full diet coke can sitting outside his door, perhaps under the impression that it will be drunk by someone else rather than disinfected and tossed in the trash.
Our burger arrives some 30 minutes later and is in a slightly more disheveled state than yesterday’s but still good. We’re going to end up powered by burgers by the time this is over and I remind myself to get on the exercise bike later on. For the first time, Michael has turned the TV on during the day. There’s a surfing competition on in New South Wales and I glance over from my spot in the armchair every few minutes to watch some Brazilian dude coasting through the water. Outside it’s another beautiful day, I’ve been looking out the window all morning at a group that’s having some kind of gathering in the park below. They’ve set up a little tent and are now engaging in some kind of movement ritual with a guy out the front holding a large spear-like stick. It’s interesting to watch from above as they stalk across the field as a coordinated group.
I can tell Michael is antsy today too. He continues watching the surfing while playing on his phone after we finish with the crossword. I sit cross-legged on the armchair and soak up the sun. We exchange looks across the room intermittently. It doesn’t seem as cold in here today thankfully. Minutes drift by and I finally finish the latest Tana French book. I’m glad it’s done, it was an effort to get through which is disappointing given how much I enjoyed her Dublin Murders novels. At about 2.30pm I call my sister in Geelong who’s enjoying a Sunday afternoon bellini. Our nephews played soccer this morning, but neither won their respective games unfortunately. It’s the first game back since everything was put on hold a year ago with the pandemic so they enjoyed playing regardless. They have training again tomorrow after school.
My challenge for today is a tricky one – I have to rewrite the words to a 90’s song reflecting my experience in quarantine. I’ve settled on “100% Pure Love” by Crystal Waters, which Michael claims he doesn’t know, and have already jotted down a couple of phrases that came into my head while I was cleaning this morning. I look up the actual lyrics online and try to ensure that I follow the same structure and rhythm with my words. I wonder how best to present my work to the girls and contemplate somehow creating an audio file for them. I am able to find some YouTube videos meant for karaoke where only the backing music is played. I download a voice recorder on my phone that Michael has used before and recommends, and record myself singing the new song lyrics with the YouTube music playing in the background. I make it through the main parts of the song but lose my shit towards the end where the chorus starts to repeat. Quietly impressed with my own efforts I send the audio file across to the girls and say a silent thank you to them for getting me to laugh at myself regularly during these last 2 weeks.
Michael and I take turns on the bike and while I am on it dinner is delivered. He retrieves the plastic bag and puts the cold items in the fridge. After we have both showered we resume our positions at the coffee table by the window and finish off the last of the cheese we got from Woolies before breaking out the chicken salad saved from lunch. Michael eats a few pieces of lamb from the dinner delivery – far from Moroccan it looks like a bag of frozen Asian vegetables has been emptied into the foil container. I pick out a piece of baby corn and my decision to stick with the salad is justified.
We relocate to the bed and the rest of the night is spent watching more crap than we have for the entire time in quarantine – Michael makes me watch “Spicks & Specks” and when it’s finished we get to witness Jamie Durie wearing fake leather and fighting to keep his place in Dancing with the Stars. I still haven’t got a look at Schapelle Corby’s dance skills and for that I am super disappointed.
I have an early call with my boss tomorrow morning and the hotel has put out an announcement warning there might be delays with breakfast deliveries due to another leper flight arrival. I select a new book from my kindle about cosmetic surgery trends in South Korea, read a couple of pages to get myself into the story and then it’s light out.
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