GRACE UNDER PRESSURE

My dad calls me every day, usually during his meal breaks. He works as a welder in a big factory and for the most part, his work is solitary. There might be a few words here or there with a passing coworker, but everyone mostly keeps to their own work section. I guess he gets lonely. He has a phone list of people he calls while he has lunch – mum, me (not my brother as he never picks up), his brother, his other brother … and another four or five brothers to choose from.

The phone calls are the same every day. How are the kids? What are you doing? Have you heard the gossip about so and so? As much as my dad’s calls can be annoying, they are comforting in their regularity. These days we talk a lot about the pandemic, which is to be expected. He doesn’t understand my concern with food or toilet paper shortages. His response to having no toilet paper? Ah, just go wash your bottom, like the old days. And to food? I have a stockpile of coffee. And lots of liver pâté and two-minute noodles to spare. Uh, thanks Dad.

Yesterday, my mum lost her second part-time job. She’s now jobless and not eligible for government assistance as my dad makes just above the family threshold for support. So now, my brother and I are supplementing her with a small income to help support my elderly grandma overseas. With spare time on her hands, my mum is now also calling me daily. My phone calls with my mum are slightly different than with my dad. Like today, my mum spent fifty-eight minutes giving me advice on wearing masks in public, cooking meals that the kids will definitely like, what foods to buy in a pandemic and what other measures I should undertake. My mum thinks I should be filling old milk bottles with boiled water in case the water gets infected. A bit drastic methinks.

After my talk with the parents, I felt unnerved and conflicted. I had one parent unaffected by the pandemic and another prepping like it was a zombie apocalypse. Fuelled on heightened anxiety, I went to the supermarket to restock on fresh vegetables and meat. I didn’t wear the mask, feeling self-conscious, and rushed through the grocery list in an effort to reduce exposure in the community. Staff were sanitising baskets; customers were wearing masks; there were no children accompanying their parents. Everyone was complying with rules about social distancing. There were green lines marking safe distancing for queuing. Fortunately, the shelves were looking less bare and there was toilet paper!

In my frazzled state, I didn’t check prices for anything. I just grabbed my listed items, chucked them into the basket and bolted to the cash register. It wasn’t until I got home and was reviewing the bill that I realised two heads of broccoli cost me ten buckaroos! We can’t afford luxury goods in this climate! Broccoli will have to go. I’m sure the children will agree.

We are heading into influenza season with winter and this COVID pandemic could last six months. If I can’t keep my wits about me during this time, I might be forced to take up my dad’s offer of pâté and noodles after all.

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Kathy - KN J Tales and Snippets

Creative writer and storytelling enthusiast, sharing snippets of my journey through life and parenting. Aiming to inspire, empower and ignite laughter with every word that I write.

19 thoughts on “GRACE UNDER PRESSURE”

  1. You seem to have a lot on your hands lately. I totally agree the prices of goods are rising exorbitantly. I hope things get better in the future! Kudos to you for going strong through all the hard times. Try meditating for a few minutes in the morning/evening to get your mind off your problems. Prayers for a better future! 🌸

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s highway robbery for broccoli! My hubby has been going to the store and he came home with a $22 whole chicken the other day. I had it on the list because I had a recipe idea, but definitely think we can skip it next time for that much. I’m glad you finally got your tp restocked!!

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  3. Sending prayers for your parents and your family, Kathy. I hope this doesn’t last too long, but I love the example you share of your family all pulling together.

    My parents call a lot more right now, too. Sometimes with kids it feels inconvenient, but I keep thinking, if they ever did get sick I know I would regret not cherishing this phone call.

    But it is tricky not to let other people’s anxiety affect my own 🤔

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Every time I go grocery shopping I’m shocked st the prices… but that does seem awfully high for broccoli. Sorry about your mother’s job and the extra burden on you. Believe me I know how that is. My husband is always supporting one or two of his siblings.

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  5. You and your brother are doing a great job supporting your mother and your grandma. Tough times need families to stick together. Broccoli can be substituted for maybe some other veggie..?
    I like your dad’s take on the whole crisis. Toilet papers aren’t the only solution lol..

    Your conversation with your parents reminded me of mine. I talk to them daily too. My dad’s conversations are very factual while my mom can talk 53 minutes too on the things I should and shouldn’t do lol.

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  6. Go for noodles and extra coffee 😉 Sorry your mom lost her part time jobs, so stressful. it’s nice you and your brother are able to help with grammy and you found toiler paper! hooray! how is the frozen veggie selection by you? In times like these we find the frozen is less expensive than the fresh. We’ve been doing lots of rice in the rice cooker with veggies. Jase is not working at all and I’m barely working. I’ve been laid off from the consignment store and cleaning homes has thinned out drastically. We have rent for this month, next month looks bleak. Thankfully we are headed into spring and summer and we have lots of outdoor gear if we need to take up residence in the backcountry. It’ll make for interesting posts hahaha!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve completely stacked the freezer with frozen veggies and spag bol sauce! For you now… when I’ve drained the accounts from accidental panic buying of expensive food.
      I’m sorry you’ve been laid off and finding work difficult. We’re all holding our breaths. No doubt, my dad will be laid off at some point. Only one’s standing might be my brother and my husband to keep us all going. There’s even talk of moving in with the in-laws for a bit if things go bad 😬🤢😭. Let’s hope you and I won’t be blogging about drastic measures.

      Liked by 1 person

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