Lockdown Prep - The Practical Stuff
Daniel's sister and her family live in Melbourne and they've just been told lockdown starts for them tomorrow. I'd honestly be surprised if most countries around the world AREN'T in lockdown over these next few weeks, so I thought I'd do a few posts with some advice as to how to prepare for a lockdown, especially if you have young kids at home.
We'll start with the practical stuff. I'm not going to do a fully comprehensive list of food to buy because, dude, you know how to grocery shop. What I will say is DO NOT PANIC BUY AND HOARD. Even during a lockdown, you're allowed out to go grocery shopping. There have been very few items that we haven't been able to find while under lockdown. Just in case you are unsure as to why hoarding is bed, take a brief moment to consider those who cannot afford to hoard weeks' worth of supplies. This is really heartbreaking.
As a side note on panic buying, what the hell is the deal with hoarding toilet paper?! That would be the LAST thing that I would hoard. First off, if you live in continental Europe, you likely have a bidet. Just wash that shit off, literally. Secondly, in the worst case scenario where you actually run out of loo roll and you don't have a bidet, there's something called the Family Cloth. Not appealing, but it's an option.
All that said, you don't really want to be heading to the supermarket too often during lockdown because that means contact with other germy humans, as my husband's get up below reflects. Once a week is probably ideal so I'd say, pre- and during the lockdown, just do one big weekly shop. Try and meal plan carefully so that you don't end up with a ton of food in the fridge and yet no obvious meals to make.
Cleaning supplies are another necessity, and some surgical gloves if you can find them so you minimise touching stuff barehanded when you're doing your grocery shop. YOU DO NOT NEED FACE MASKS. If you have an N95 facemask stash, go and donate them to your local hospital immediately. My husband's wearing a flimsy costume face mask here; it doesn't do diddly squat and he only wore it for the photo, not for the actual trip to the grocery store.
Don't forget any four-legged family members when you're buying food. On the topic of pets, if you've been considering getting one, now is an absolutely fantastic time to try fostering. You'll all be home all day to care for the pet, and if you foster or adopt a dog, the daily walks he or she requires are another valid excuse to get outdoors. Just PLEASE do not adopt a dog solely for that reason - any adoption or fostering should be done with the best of intentions.
Try to make sure any prescription refills are done - pharmacies will remain open but again, you want to avoid venturing outdoors as much as possible. Also ensure you buy some basic beauty supplies like paracetamol, tampons, condoms, nail polish remover, vitamins, and, if you're not a fan of going grey, hair dye.
While we're on the topic of beauty, I'd also advise you to go get gel nails removed pre-lockdown and definitely march everyone in the family over to the hairdressers for a haircut, unless you all want to look like Tom Hanks in Castaway by the time we're released. Weirdly enough, here in Spain the hairdressers are allowed to remain open during lockdown, but any unnecessary contact with other people just seems irresponsible at the moment.
I think this is a good moment to 'check my privilege' as all those 'woke' people say. Lockdown is absolutely excellent for making you appreciate the small things that you take for granted when life is normal. I feel really lucky that we're in a position to 'throw money at the problem' and make our lockdown more comfortable by purchasing things to make the time go faster. The list below reflects that (even though nothing on it costs more than about 15 quid).
If you haven't got kids in the house, you're basically fine as long as you have the internet, books, and the last item on this list. If you've got kids in the house, I highly recommend buying at least a few of the rest of these items:
Books! I ordered a big stash of kids' books before lockdown and have been pulling out a new one every couple of nights to keep the novelty going.
Craft supplies like paint, paper, glue, scissors, felt, stickers, poster, markers, and a few enormous cardboard boxes to create rocket ships and the like out of.
Charger for ipad - our kiddos have pretty ancient ipads and the chargers are not easily found. If you've got a similar situation, get a spare charge in just in case. This is a good tip for most essential electronics. Right now Amazon is still delivering here, but I'm not sure if that's going to continue.
Printer ink - I've been printing out loads and loads of colouring sheets, multiplication quizzes, handwriting practice sheets and the like.
Gardening bits and bobs. If you've ever wanted to start a little veggie garden with your kiddos, now's the time!
Board games and a deck of cards to while away time together and avoid the screens.
Snacks or recipes to make them. For some reason, being at home all day means that your kids need about 1000 x more snacks than normal. One mother in our Valencia mums' FB group shared the genius idea of putting price tags on the snacks and her kids have to do chores to earn money to buy them. Fruit was cheap; unhealthy snacks far more expensive.
Baking supplies - this is a great activity as it involves making something, decorating it, and then eating it, thus also solving the endless snacking problem mentioned above.
If you rely on a water delivery service as we do in Valencia, perhaps order an extra bottle or two each time as with your kids at home rather than school, you will go through it faster.
Comfortable homewear. Let's face it, you're not going to be wearing office attire each day, are you?
DIY supplies. You're going to be at home for a while - why not check all those endless DIY items off your list while you're at it?
Supplies for science experiments - look up some fun science experiments online and get the necessary supplies in - they're another great way to pass the time with kids.
Fun bits and bobs like fake tattoos, temporary hair dye in wild colours, and face paint.
If you have any birthdays coming up in the next few weeks, things like balloons, candles, cake toppers, banners, wrapping paper, gifts and party hats will go a long way in making it a bit less glum.
WINE AND ANY OTHER KIND OF ALCOHOL/SOCIALLY ACCEPTABLE FORM OF REALITY-ALTERING SUBSTANCE.
Let me know if you've got any other ideas as to the practical stuff and I'll add them to this post and credit you.