Monday, April 06, 2020

Domestic Goddess on Speed

With social distancing/home office week number 3 completed, I have indeed fully morphed into a 1950s housewife (who actually has another job as well, but we'll gloss over that little detail). My cooking and baking drive (see previous post) has increased and Highflyer commented that he has long "surrendered the kitchen" to me without a fight. On our most recent weekly trip to check on my flat in Vienna I packed my sewing machine with fabric and other utensils to join the "war effort" by producing face masks. On Sunday I sowed rocket salad in a little spot in the garden I claimed for my horticultural experiments. What will come next? Knitting socks? Weaving the fabric for the things I sew? Stay tuned.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Turning Into My Own Grandmother

When my grandparents were retired, two questions dominated their conversation every evening. Come to think of it, my parents also ask themselves exactly these questions as well One of them is "What shall we cook tomorrow", the second "What are we going to watch (on TV) tonight?" Since Highflyer and I don't have a TV here in his house and only ever stream the news, the second question is irrelevant. The first, however, pops into my mind every day and I am looking forward to thinking of conjuring up a wholesome meal from the exploits of our weekly shopping trip or from what his cupboards yield. I guess when there are minimal other distractions and not much you can plan with any certainty, it is important to have something to plan and look forward to, short-term.
I don't mind gradually turning into a (non-desperate) boring suburban housewife one bit and am happy when my kitchen experiments are well received. 48 going on 78, I guess...

Monday, March 23, 2020

Corona Honeymoon

I don't know Julian. Highflyer doesn't either. But he knows that it was the son of the previous owner of his house (those wooden letters are very sticky, btw) whose room I am now storing my belongings  in and have set up my work station in so I can say I am "going to work" every morning.
I have been living here for 10 days now and am very grateful not to be stuck in my city flat without a balcony or terrace. It was a spontaneous decision even though we don't have wifi here and I'd only ever worked from here before once. In fact, we had previously spent more than 90% of our time together at my place and I really appreciated that. Even though we had seen each other most days when our schedules allowed it and even spent a whole week together in Innsbruck in January, "moving in together" was not on either of our agenda any time soon as the set-up we had worked just fine (see this previous post here). Due to the COVID-19 lockdown and the fact that I can thankfully work from home and he (not so thankfully) can't do his job as an airline pilot at all right now due to all planes being grounded, the decision was taken out of our hands and we've been catapulted into a "married-couple-who-lives-in-a-house-in-the-suburbs" scenario and spending 24/7 together. It's been very harmonious so far and we are both very thankful not to be quarantined somewhere all on our own. I don't envisage great potential for conflict and getting on the other person's nerves, but never say never. I can't imagine anyone else I'd rather be locked down with and even though I wish we could fast forward to the day when life will be "normal" again - assuming it ever will be - part of me  really enjoys this bizarre slow-paced "honeymoon" bubble I find myself in. 

Monday, March 16, 2020

A New Reality

When I searched my photos for the image of a laptop (thanks, AI) I came across this picture of my old company Macbook. I had stuck that "alles wird gut" (everything will be alright) message on its keypad to remind myself that indeed it would. There were times when I could barely motivate myself to get out of bed and go to work as I was unhappy on so many levels. These days, work is rather a welcome distraction from all the apocalyptic news updates. Days before schools were ordered to be closed and travel bans issued Highflyer and I started a new routine: watch a film (sometimes on an old school DVD even) then go to bed early(ish) to catch a healthy dose of sleep in order to be better equipped to battle nasty viruses. It was actually quite nice and cosy and we liked our new "old people" routine. Now that it's not an option, but a necessity for lack of other distractions, it feels less fun and when we decided to cancel our planned ski weekend in Tyrol (not in the resorts that we later found out would be isolated) it was with a very heavy heart as this had been something I had looked forward to for weeks. When our canteen stopped putting up a salad buffet and replaced glasses you could pick up yourself with plastic cups issued from the person serving your food behind the counter (wearing rubber gloves) I rolled up my eyes, but as the bad news grow, I am less keen on hanging out with large groups of people myself. I am sure that when this crisis is over (hopefully soon) we will all have adopted a few good rules (such as more hygiene) and reconsider a few bad habits. Whether stockpiling toilet paper will be one of them remains to be seen...

Monday, March 09, 2020

Privileged

I'm writing this on March 8, International Women's Day. Until a few years ago, I did not actually know this day existed. It was brought to my attention when I worked with colleagues in CEE who told me they had always celebrated it, even more so in Communist times. I found out that on March 8 they got flowers or chocolate from men like we do on Valentine's. Obviously, it is a day to reflect on feminist issues and what it means to be a woman, such as a potentially lower salary and less opportunities in life. I can honestly say I have never in my life felt disadvantaged by not being a man (actually, I was very relieved I did not get drafted for military service like male classmates did...) or feel that there were fewer opportunities in life for me. I don't claim that my perception reflects the objective truth, just that I, personally, have not felt any limitations or disadvantages. Naive? Possibly. Privileged? Definitely! I am very aware that the situation I am in (defined by the country I was born in and continue to live, by my parents and their economic situation and education, and many more factors) is nowhere near the norm, not even in this country, this year. I am just incredibly grateful for the fact that I can enjoy being a woman and not have to feel scared, harassed, quietened or prevented from pursuing my potential or living my dreams. 

Monday, March 02, 2020

There's No Guarantee

Last week, I met a group of former colleagues from the Firm. We're making this a monthly thing and it was really nice to see them, even if we were a small group this time.  One guy who had held quite a senior position and quit his job in Q4 last year dropped a bombshell: he was getting divorced. We were all in shock as his had been the typical "perfect relationship"...viewed from outside at least Pretty, smart and successful wife, a cute son and they seemed to be very much in love the few times I saw them together. In fact, all of us thought they were the perfect couple. Turns out that the old saying that you can't look inside other people, nor their relationships really is true. The two of them are currently exchanging nasty letters written by their respective divorce lawyers while still living together. It's very sad and while he claimed to be over her everyone at the table could not help but think about their own situation and whether it could happen to them, too, that the person they thought they knew inside out suddenly turns to a cold and calculating stranger. It can happen and it might, but like terminal illnesses, we prefer to believe that it only happens to others. It was definitely a sobering reminder that "eternal love" often has an expiry date.

Monday, February 24, 2020

Neighbourhood Cornucopia

The picture above is pretty much the daily sight in my building. The windowsill leading to the elevator and staircase is our unofficial "fleamarket corner" or rather "decluttering shelf". Years ago, a guy who lives in one of the rooftop apartments put a handful of things there with a note saying that he'd take care of removing any items that were still there after a week. There weren't any. Ever since then, it has become the space to drop the things you don't want/need anymore and then take a bet if they are still there when you walk past the next time. With one exception, I've only been an avid contributor, not a "taker" (the notebooks above were mine...the animal print bathing suit was NOT) and it's a great feeling that you had something somebody else wanted and didn't have to throw it away or put an ad on any classified site. Do you have a similar space where you live? If not, you should definitely initiate one!
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