Life’s a beach, a very trendy one

June 7th, 2020 9:45 PM

By Emma Connolly

I’d like to pretend that’s me on the paddle board, but it’s how I imagine I’ll look next year. It’s going to take me that long to get my beach game on.

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DIARY OF A DEMENTED HOME WORKER: Week 12 and my non-hanging, hanging swing chair is threatening to push me past the point of no return

• I’M more of a dip-and-go kind when it comes to the beach, but seeing as we’re fortunate enough to be within 5km of one, it would have been ungrateful not to make the most of last weekend’s glorious weather. I obviously didn’t get the memo though about how the Irish beach vibe has changed over the past few years. To give an insight of where I’m at, I’m considering getting a cool box (haven’t committed to anything), the smallie has a body board from the local filling station, and we thought we were posh with the rash vests. But it’s gone completely next level between swim gear and picnic kit. Absolutely fascinating. It’s going to take me at least a year to get back in the game, so if the vibe changes again, let me know. In the meantime, I’ll be trying to bankrupt myself buying outdoor gear and perfecting my paddle board pose.

• What hasn’t changed, though, is the sight of Irish mammies ankle deep on the shoreline shouting things like: ‘If you don’t get out right now we’re never coming again’; ‘That’s it, I’m telling your father tonight’, and ‘Can you hold it?’ while looking around desperately for some kind of divine solution. But a new addition this summer has to be the young lads sporting the Connell chain. I mean, would you be young again for anything? In a total heartbeat.

• Spending time at the beach was both amazing and slightly stressful (the fact that I had shrunk my togs by mistakenly putting them in the tumble dryer didn’t help). It was immediately obvious that small kids can’t social distance (my own hugged her cousin only to say: ‘Have I got the virus now?’), teens aren’t that great at it, and in the glorious sunshine I found myself relaxing perhaps a tad too much myself. It was tricky and when talking to anyone, I found myself trying to figure out if they felt affronted by me keeping my distance, or if I was making them feel uncomfortable by being too close. I was probably overthinking it. Listen to Joe and keep washing the hands is all we can do.

• But it was really, really (really) exciting having access to so many new people, even if was hard to know where to start with conversations. Take it from the top, from March 13th, stick to the high/low lights, or what. Most of us went with the ‘era grand, you know yourself’ line, and hoped that our eyes told the real horror story (in case our thighs already hadn’t).

• I am feeling quite optimistic, though, with talk that restrictions might be relaxed a little earlier than we expected, including hairdressers. That’s just common sense as it doesn’t matter what’s open if our hair isn’t sorted, we won’t be stirring. Simple as that. The dog and the husband both got a haircut this week. Another month will improve things a lot for them.

• My sister bit the bullet and bought a tent. We’re counting down until they can come and camp in the garden. This could be the way forward – having visitors to stay and not even having to change the sheets or put out the good towels. I still actually have towels from boarding school which would almost remove a layer of skin they’re so worn, while the fluffy, whiter-than-white, softer-than-soft ones are reserved for visitors. Anyone else do that?

• While the weather has been a gift, I think lots of us feel wrecked in a way you’d normally be come the end of August. It’s like we’ve already done the summer. That’s why teenage childminders are going to be like golddust in the next few weeks. I’m predicting bidding wars and feel things might get very dirty. It will all come down to the Ts&Cs.

• Silage season is well underway. Which means feeding silage men is now a task facing many. I remember myself and my siblings would be absolutely intrigued when the eclectic bunch of contractors would pour into the kitchen for their cold plate. We found them absolutely fascinating – my mother not so much I’d say, as they’d come in their dribs and drabs. So with social distancing, we’re hearing quite loud sighs of relief from farmers’ wives around the place. Although having said that, there’s plenty of creative culinary going on with everything from boxes of sandwiches being flaked out to fields, to tables being set up 2m apart in sheds. Some people are even putting up bunting (ok, I made that bit up).

• I’m finding that as the weeks go on, the time period between getting up in the morning and getting to the desk is shortening. At the start I was completely pumped. I’d have my water bottle filled up, my diffuser spitting out energy-boosting oil, my hand cream at the ready, and my clipboard good to go. Now it’s just me. And the four-year-old obviously. But honestly, I don’t think bosses need to be worried about people slacking off. If we’re still pulling it off this many weeks in, imagine what we’ll do when home alone (the ultimate fantasy) or back at HQ? It will be mind-blowing.

• This is a bit random, but are flies getting smarter or is my aim getting worse? I feel like they’ve learned to hide in crevices and hard-to-reach corners. Of course I could just be going a big mad. But you have to agree, there’s no denying the size of the crows around. I swear to God, it feels like they’re plotting against us. I’m wondering if this could all be their fault, and not the bats at all.

• After much consideration, I treated myself to a two-seater outside swing chair. Thought it would go nicely with the fire pit. The plan was to hang it off an outside porch but it transpires it would have brought the house down. And not in a good way. So now I’m waiting on a stand to arrive. It’s not due until mid-July. So far, this purchase is not bringing me as much joy as I imagined.

• We all have a ‘thing’ that’s getting us through. While mine will eventually be swinging in my chair, my husband’s is reorganising the garage. He does it around once a week even though all that’s in it are random German discount supermarket items that didn’t change our lives in the way we thought they would (seed propagator, lawn edger, leaf blower etc).  He said he was thinking of installing a sauna there. I indulged him. After all, my Pinterest board for my imaginery outdoor room looks like something you’d see in the Hollywood hills. Besides, with the non-hanging, hanging swing chair taking up prime position in the garage, there’s no room for a sauna right now.

• We might be in the middle of a global pandemic but idiots are still littering. It’s most disappointing. I even saw a discarded mask in the ditch the other day on my walk. What is wrong with people?

• What I really wish is that the conversation on how back-to-school will work, could stop for just a little while. I think everyone (teachers, parents, grandparents, guardians) need even two weeks where we’re not fretting over what happens in September.  There’s a lot on the line, not least our sanity. We’re presuming the very important people working on a vaccine are going to defer their own holidays. Maybe they could claim time-and-a-half back or something? We could organise a whip ‘round at the very least. It’s just I’m not too sure how many more weeks I can hack being a demented home worker. That Glenroe feeling has nothing on it.

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