Thursday, May 07, 2020

Coronavirus aka Covid19 update

There is a new saying that is going around in the corporate world, "Stay safe and stay sane!" Perhaps you can relate?

Our lake at home where we stroll after working hours. This grey weather truly epitomizes the real Dutch weather as well.

We have a semi-lockdown here in the Netherlands. Our Prime Minister calls it an intelligent lockdown in a democratic society. Basically, we were given the chance if we want to go out and not. There's not much to do anyway as most places are closed. Only the essential shops are open, but later, I realised that a few home and general merchandise stores were open, however, implementing the 1.5-meter social distancing and disinfection of shopping carts.

Then one weekend it got so terribly busy in the parks and lakes, partially to be blamed due to good weather, that the government sent an SMS-alert nationwide reminding everyone to adhere to the 1.5-meter social distancing and to stay at home if not feeling well. This was followed the next day by a press conference pleading people to comply and to stay at home as much as possible. New rules were added such as no more than 2 people congregating and stiff measures in the form of fines were implemented.

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We are now a few weeks later and the Netherlands have slowly opened up the country. Many shops have opened their doors and children up to 12 years old can now attend practice in sports clubs and go back to school. The adults are still recommended to stay and work from home, which is mainly for white-collar jobs. Manual labor blue-collared jobs have been working as usual, although lesser shifts and personnel, and processes were adapted to comply with Covid9 guidelines. Restaurants, bars, cafes, and hair salons are not yet open. We will know more by the end of the month.

At this point, no one knows what's going to happen next really. I am living one day at a time. In this new normal, in the new reality, and in this new world.

How has this affected me?

One of my working from home days pre-Covid19 times when it tends to go later than expected.

In the past, I work once or twice from home, while the rest of the week, I am either at our corporate office in Utrecht, at our facilities in the south, or travelling to customers. Now I work from home fulltime. I am actually liking it but work-wise, similar to my colleagues, my workload is not functioning full capacity as many of our customers and partners have put projects and decisions on hold.

The good thing is the company I work for is not that affected by the global pandemic situation. In these challenging times, we were somewhat in the "right" kind of industry. But I have to say that no one is really safe, both from contracting the Coronavirus and losing their jobs. So far we are holding up and some divisions in the company are performing well. My division, however, is so-so. We are hoping that May will pick up.

Dutchman and I actually now both work from home. We have 1 designated workroom with 2 big screens and this is supposedly Dutchman's room where he does gaming and such (see picture above). But with us both working from home now, we have to do some workspace arrangements. We felt lucky though for having 2 screens at home. So I claimed the workroom as my workspace and Dutchman took 1 of the screens and installed it in the dining for his work area.

My working area with just 1 screen now. I have reading glasses and it's very tiring on the eye to work with it on a laptop. Working on 2 screens was better but 1 is also fine.

Our dinner table is quite long. Dutchman took half of the tablespace so it is doable for now as it is just the two of us anyway. I have told him though that if this Covid19 working from home will last longer towards the summer, then I will want to move my workspace to the top floor. The front part of the top floor is my future work-atelier space but it's not ready yet at this point, mainly it needs a wifi repeater because the current one can only support 2 floors with fast access. I really look forward to working there.

And as we are now 24x7 together, I make our lunches and try to make it interesting every single day. To break the daily humdrum of repeated tasks in isolation, (making) lunches and dinners are now something to look forward to. We eat our lunch together sometimes outside in the garden when the sun is out.

This was a lunch taken several weeks ago when it was strangely above 20C in April.

I have been prettying up the garden terrace as well. The other weekend, I braved and went to the garden center and bought some plants and flowers. I was careful in disinfecting the carts like we normally do when grocery shopping on a weekly basis. I think I have a green thumb! We appreciate the modern, simple, and symmetric look, so I won't be adding more greenery in the near future. For now, we are good with what I have bought so far. I am very pleased with how my repotting have turned out!

The only thing I would want now is temperatures daily above 20C, more sunshine and blue skies! Today it was sunny with blue skies but it was 16C, too cold to be lounging in the terrace.

Some of the plants and flowers I bought that I have repotted:

As you can see, my colour theme this year is purple/ lavender. It goes well with my anthracite, grey, and white combinations.

We've had some days off due to public holidays and some forced vacation days from work too, so Dutchman and I have been working on the house. There is still a lot to do here at home, but our mantra is to take it one day at a time. No rush. We take the decision on which light best suits for the bedroom as we along and agree (for example). So far last weekend we managed to install the spotlights in the living room and 1 additional spotlight in the kitchen. Aren't we so relieved these tasks were done? Now on to the next!

Oh, I have been cooking up dishes but always too lazy to take pictures these days. Here are some of them.

 This is (Chinese) jellyfish salad. Very fresh and delicious if you like sour and spicy.

Another Asian fusion inspired salad with fried tofu strips.

We have also been taking walks in the neighbourhood and around the lake. We do this regularly now, not every day but every few times in a week. Today, we walked around the neighbourhood again, inspecting the new houses and the development. They are now selling phase 7 I think but it's going slow because the house prices are really super expensive in Utrecht. For 200-300K less of a house selling here at the moment, you get a huge house with a sizable land in the nearby countryside. No idea how the pandemic will affect the housing market.

I managed to take a photo of the lake nearby with the view of our neighbourhood in the far distance. This was taken a few weeks ago. I  live just a stone's throw away from here which is really nice. I hear the birds every day, they fly above the house and make cackling sounds. I feel like I am living in the countryside even if I am in the city, less than 10 minutes to the city center. Some days, such as during the weekends, I do my morning run and workout here.

I do not think we will have a summer holiday in the Greek Islands this year, what with all the travel restrictions and uncertainty. So I told the Dutchman that we will have picnic sessions here in the summer instead. There's actually a beach with sand here, although not the best there is, we might as well make the most of what we have nearby home!

Ok, just picnicking, no swimming =)

Till my next update...

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