My husband and I work together at The Place Where I Work, so we are around each other a lot of the time. During a normal work week, I work from homes on Thursdays, and he works from home on Fridays. Many years ago, I told him I needed some time to myself at least during some part of the week, and when he told me, “We work in different offices!” in protest, I responded he knew what I meant. As a person who likes my own company, I need to have my own time and space separate from everyone else.

During the COVID-19 lockdown in Alert Level 3, then Alert Level 4, and finally Alert Level 3 again, we spent an entire 8 weeks or so under the same roof. That’s a lot of time to be in each other’s space.

So today was my first day in a few months where I got to enjoy my own space. He went to work, I stayed home. It wasn’t as relaxing and calming as I thought it would be, but it was nice to be in my own space for a while anyway.

This morning, I worked on a Web-based work project I devised a few days ago. As you might remember, we went to Alert Level 2 late last week and started back on campus on Monday of this week, so I finally could shift to some of my own work.

One idea I have had for a while, and stumbled upon a potential solution this week for, was to allow prospective students to apply online.

Using this plugin I found, in conjunction with plugins I already had installed on our Web site and a fillable PDF form I had created, we could collect information from prospective students online and have their application form sent to us via email, all typed up neatly and signed and dated.

Last night, I tried to finish the work up but I screwed up in several areas, so I approached it with a fresh mind this morning. After a few stops and starts, I finally think I have the form and the alignment with the PDF finished.

My doctor wanted to see me as it’s been at least 6 months since I saw him last. I honestly wasn’t sure if he would be more comfortable with tele-consultation or a face-to-face one, but when I called the offices, they told me he wanted to see me in person.

He works only until about 1 PM on Thursdays — he makes house calls after that on Thursdays — so my appointment was at 12:30 PM. One of the women working on reception notified me that my doctor was running late, which was fine.

When I entered the waiting room, there were 2 people before me: an old man with his senior citizen daughter; and a younger woman. The old man went to see my doctor before me, while the younger woman saw another doctor.

For a while, it was just me sitting in the waiting room. I’d never seen it so empty. And then, my doctor came in, wearing blue scrubs — the new attire, obviously easier to clean and wouldn’t be taken home — and called me down to his office.

Blood pressure? Normalish.

Heart? Fine.

Lungs? Clear.

We spoke about a lot of things, which was nice. He wasn’t rushed, so it was nice to catch up with him and talk with him. I know he was anxious about COVID-19. He even said that several weeks ago, he was frightened that it would be explosive in New Zealand. But he sounded like he was quite confident that New Zealand was okay now. He even said that “we dodged a bullet”, and I have to agree with him.

The funniest time was I pretended that I needed to ask him about a new medication, so I said to him, “Oh, there’s this medication I think I need a prescription for. Hydrooxychloroquine? I mean, my President is telling me it can ward of COVID. He says he’s a very stable genius, so he must be right.”

My doctor laughed very hard. (I mean, seriously, he knew I was kidding.)

So we spent a bit of time talking about different things, and I think he enjoyed having an intelligent, funny person to speak to who (honestly) didn’t have anything wrong with him and was there for a standard check-up. I can’t imagine everyone who comes to see him is like that.

Fast forward to this afternoon. My husband got home and told me one of our students wasn’t in school today because she had contact with someone who potentially had contact with someone with COVID-19. Stress levels elevated a million fold when I heard that.

Stepping back a bit: In Canterbury, where we live, we have 3 active cases. In New Zealand, in the last 7 days, we have had 2 cases of COVID-19 in total. 97% of all active cases have recovered now. Our Director General of Health even stated today in the daily press conference that the transmission chain in New Zealand has been “successfully broken”. So there’s a lot of evidence to suggest that the Government are being extra cautious and testing, testing, testing, like they should be.

I found out who the student was and wrote to her to say that a) I hoped she was doing well and holding up, b) we hoped she was fine, and c) we’d need clearance for her to come back to school. I just felt that was very important to put out there in the universe.

She did reply to say she hoped to know her status tomorrow and she’d let us know in writing. I wrote back and said we sincerely hoped she was fine and to take it easy, as I’m sure the anxiety and stress was high.

On Tuesday, the students in her class asked me a question, and I discussed the answer with them. This student was there. We were about 2 meters apart during the conversation, which lasted about 5 minutes in total.

Our school is well-ventilated, with the air conditioning system swapping out the air in the school around every 5 minutes, and the system itself has HEPA filters too. The filters were replaced after the students left before lockdown but on the team’s last day in the offices before lockdown. So, pretty new.

That was the only interaction I had with her other than saying hello in the morning as I let students in, and I don’t recall me being the one to let her in any morning (as my colleague took over for the last half hour), so I may have only had one interaction with her.

So (knock on wood) everything hopefully will be okay. I sure do hope so.

That’s all the news from here, my dear readers.

I’ll let you know more tomorrow if I have more to report.

Stay safe, stay in your bubble, and be kind.

Writer, blogger, actor, reader, singer, liberal, German, American, Kiwi, gay, Caucasian, educational administrator.

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