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Stop the COVID-19 Train......I WANT TO GET OFF!

clipped_wings

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It would seem there is not a Human Being left on Earth that has not been impacted by the insidious onslaught of COVID-19.

Thank God for AFF and the Community Forums. The ability to vent/question/resolve/debate our thoughts and feelings may just well save me - and hopefully many others. This thread is a diary for me to catalogue my journey with CO19. I use the term catalogue, because it's exactly what I am doing to survive right now. I'm taking every negative thought, every positive revelation. Everything I learn and suffer. And I am documenting it here, for my benefit and maybe the benefit of anyone else willing to share it. Hopefully, when I read back, I will see how far we have come. And how close we came.

There is a perverse comfort knowing so much of the globe is struggling as I am now. Isn't that so weird? It's not a case of schadenfreude - but rather a way for me to reconcile my pain and grief. It is a harsh fact for me to acknowledge. I am struggling. We are all struggling.

I'm not supposed to struggle with my life. I am a 57 year old outspoken, confident woman with a professional trade to my name. I have a husband and four great kids. I have a nice home with an average mortgage, a great job that I love. I am in reasonable good health. I don't have CO19 and so far (touch wood) I don't know anyone who has succumbed to it.

Then why am I struggling?

I guess I should start at the beginning to make sense of it all....

20 JANUARY 2020
We are in Anaheim, California. Enjoying the start of a big family holiday. All is well. The LA skies are blue (a miracle in itself) and the days are warm and filled with happy events. i develop a dry cough. Nothing too severe. Take a few Strepsils and remind myself to drink more water.

31 JANUARY
The cough persists. I am now dealing with a runny nose and general aches & pains. Still not concerned, as the Adrenalin rush from Disneyland is more than enough to compensate. I buy some toxic, horrible purple solution from CVS and start a daily regime of cough suppressants. Most of the News on American TV focuses on the Australian bush fires. There is little to no reference to CO19. We don't give it much thought to be honest.

3 FEBRUARY
We are waiting at LAX for our return flight to Australia. My cough has subsided enough for me to justify drinking a few scotches in the Emirates Lounge. We are seated on the balcony - in the corner overlooking the main Departures area. I casually remark to Mr Clipped that there are a disproportionate number of Asian travellers wearing face masks. I mean, they were everywhere. "What is going on?" we asked ourselves. We had heard somewhere before we left Oz that there was some small health issue in a remote area of China faaaaaaar away from where we were sitting. But there had simply been NOTHING pertaining to it on any US station or radio. Nothing on social media. So we just couldn't understand what all the fuss was about.
And here is a painful admission for me: I laughed. I giggled at their extreme actions in the airport. We had just checked in and there was little to no proactive measures by the TSA that would have given cause for concern. But laugh we did. I even joked "Do you think they know something we don't?" to Mr Clipped.

We had no idea what we were laughing at. We flew home on a calm, clear night - and landed smack bang into the face of COVID-19.

And life as we knew it was about to change forever.


Next: First Kick in the Guts
 

clipped_wings

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09 FEBRUARY
First Kick in the Guts

We were due to return to work on Monday 10 February. As is always the way after a big trip, we dreaded it. The weather had been awful all weekend. It had poured non-stop and everything at home was soaked. But on Sunday night, we kissed the kids goodnight and reflected on what had been a pretty fun holiday, despite the crappy weather that had persisted since we returned home.
I never once thought our factory unit would have been inundated. But arriving to the work was a different story. The front office was flooded. Not a flowing river, but more a few centimeters that had managed to permeate the carpet tiles, soak up the legs of timber desks and generally create an unsafe area with electrical cabling running along the floor. It stunk of wet dog. Go figure.

We were dumbfounded. We immediately turned to the roof to see if there were breaches in the ceiling. Nothing. The walls were dry. After a bit of mild investigation we finally theorized that the front glass windows (floor to ceiling) had faulty seals - so the rain had dripped down into the front garden bed, which had eventually flooded. There was enough evidence to support this, the garden bed had a suspicious looking line of mulch along the glass.

I scrambled to shut down all power and contacted our Rental Agency for immediate assistance. They sent a carpet cleaner, who offered me an industrial dryer and explained that the carpet could be dried out and cleaned/deodorized. I asked him if they were going to remove the tiles. He said no. Too busy.

Fair enough. I set about removing all the soaking wet tiles and laid them in a drying rack in the factory. After 4-5 hours, we had towelled up most of the deluge and moved the dryer into position. The Real Estate agent came by and assessed things for a report to the Owner. It must be noted that the Owner is the son of a very wealthy man. Now, I don't have a problem with that in any way. Good luck to him. But the way we have been treated by this man since the incident is nothing short of arrogant and greedy.

Long story short: we have received no help, no assistance, no reimbursement for our costs and a solid NO when we appealed for a week's grace in rent while we cleaned up. The office could not accept customers as the floor was a tangled mess of dryer cables, sticky residue from carpet tiles and all furniture piled into the driest corner of the room. To add insult to injury - they forwarded me a copy of the carpet cleaner's invoice. $300+GST for removal of tiles, drying, relaying and deodorising of the room. I rang the Agent and casually asked when this had all taken place, as the office I was standing in was still in a huge state of disrepair. The carpet tiles were still in the racks. And they were still, very much wet. "Is the invoice pro forma?" I enquired sweetly. She expressed surprise, but said "no" and told me she would follow up. The next day she arrived to see for herself. We never heard back from her, except for the full strength invoice for the month's rent. And I believe they paid the carpet cleaner. Mr Clipped threw out the damaged furniture, relaid the carpet and we carried on. Business had started to slow, which was unusual for this time of year. But luckily, we always seemed to generate work from our biggest client, who had just placed some lucrative orders that would see us through the 3rd quarter.

I got sick around this time. Real sick. I ticked all the boxes for a COVID-19 patient, but someone was watching over me, because after 4 weeks of intense pain and tests, I was told I had some non-influenza virus. Despite the inconvenience of being too crook to work, I must say I was pretty happy with that diagnosis, because by now, COVID-19 was the thing everyone was talking about.

Next: And the Hits just keep on coming.
 

clipped_wings

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18 MARCH
For three and a half years, we have enjoyed a fabulous relationship with our daughter's boyfriend. He was friendly, engaging and loving to her. We even employed him on a casual basis and he displayed a solid work ethic that promised great opportunities.

He rang her today and dumped her. No explanation. No negotiation. Nothing. Just a sterile conversation over the phone that said he was done. Our daughter was inconsolable and obviously - we rallied around her immediately. He then ghosted us all that afternoon. Social media, emails, phone. It's like he fell off the planet. His work shirts sit on the ironing rack. His favourite tea sits unused in the pantry. We had just taken him on our second family holiday to the USA and he is all over the video footage, in every photo and in every memory. Our hearts broke for our baby girl. We ached for ourselves - it was like losing a son-in-law. His refusal to explain his actions have only compounded our grief. Mr Clipped had the dismal task of returning all his work gear and personal effects to him and suffice to say - the encounter was harrowing.

As a mother, it is my mission to keep my kids healthy. It is not my duty to keep them happy. But I wish for their happiness every day of their lives. When you see your child in so much emotional pain, it crushes you. This was her first Big Love. I have tried to counsel her with the limited psychological resources at my disposal. But I cannot end her pain right now and I feel so drained and useless. I must put on a brave face and remind her that each heart has an amazing capacity to love again. But I am weeping in my shower each night for her loss and the void it has left on our family. We have sought professional help and I am pleased to say they have all shown great empathy. But it is an expensive process and the work is still drying up. Those big orders have come and gone and there is nothing to replace them. What is happening with the world right now? Why aren't people ordering signs? Why aren't they fixing this stupid Coronavirus? Why? My head is spinning and I hug my poor, tired husband and tell him we'll all be ok.

I try to sell that logic to myself as I fall into another sleepless night.
 

clipped_wings

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23 MARCH
Today was our daughter's birthday. We tried as best as we could to make it a good memory. We'd arranged for our older daughter and her partner to join us over the weekend for a nice lunch at home, followed by cake and presents. Somehow, we'd managed to survive a week since her breakup. Just before our holiday - she was asked to resign from her position, due to implications with her role as a Duty Manager. We have no idea what that means, but it certainly didn't help her state of mind. She was prescribed anti-depressants and sleeping pills. Two things I have never endorsed. But isn't it funny how we clutch at straws when there is no hope? After 4 nights of extreme depressive behavior, we'd begged our GP for help. He was so kind to her, he listened to our story and sympathized with her on a very human level. His compassion and genuine concern was appreciated, but he diplomatically maintained that the drugs were an excellent, albeit temporary solution to stave off any suicidal thoughts.

I never in my wildest dreams, thought I would be having this conversation with a GP. Yet, here we were.

So, back to her birthday. It was Monday and we would normally be at work. But we had taken to doing shifts at home with her as she was still considered a self-harm risk. Today however, she was quite calm and serene. The absolute opposite of the previous week. The anti-depressant drugs were doing their job, even if the sleeping tablets weren't. So we were having a reasonably happy morning.

I got the text about 10am. I think I was standing in our bedroom but I am not 100% sure, it is now a blurred memory. The text read "All Clubs, Pubs, Public Venues to close at midday today for Lockdown until further notice."

99% of our husband and wife business is derived from being a supplier to Clubs. In the space of the time it took me to register what the text actually meant - our livelihood, our security, our future, our kids' future - everything..........it all ceased to exist.
 

Pushka

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18 MARCH
For three and a half years, we have enjoyed a fabulous relationship with our daughter's boyfriend. He was friendly, engaging and loving to her. We even employed him on a casual basis and he displayed a solid work ethic that promised great opportunities.

He rang her today and dumped her. No explanation. No negotiation. Nothing. Just a sterile conversation over the phone that said he was done. Our daughter was inconsolable and obviously - we rallied around her immediately. He then ghosted us all that afternoon. Social media, emails, phone. It's like he fell off the planet. His work shirts sit on the ironing rack. His favourite tea sits unused in the pantry. We had just taken him on our second family holiday to the USA and he is all over the video footage, in every photo and in every memory. Our hearts broke for our baby girl. We ached for ourselves - it was like losing a son-in-law. His refusal to explain his actions have only compounded our grief. Mr Clipped had the dismal task of returning all his work gear and personal effects to him and suffice to say - the encounter was harrowing.

As a mother, it is my mission to keep my kids healthy. It is not my duty to keep them happy. But I wish for their happiness every day of their lives. When you see your child in so much emotional pain, it crushes you. This was her first Big Love. I have tried to counsel her with the limited psychological resources at my disposal. But I cannot end her pain right now and I feel so drained and useless. I must put on a brave face and remind her that each heart has an amazing capacity to love again. But I am weeping in my shower each night for her loss and the void it has left on our family. We have sought professional help and I am pleased to say they have all shown great empathy. But it is an expensive process and the work is still drying up. Those big orders have come and gone and there is nothing to replace them. What is happening with the world right now? Why aren't people ordering signs? Why aren't they fixing this stupid Coronavirus? Why? My head is spinning and I hug my poor, tired husband and tell him we'll all be ok.

I try to sell that logic to myself as I fall into another sleepless night.
You are all grieving this loss plus concern for your daughter. Heartbreaking for all. 💔

As far as business goes, you are not alone. In fact, other than emergency services that is the norm. But those people face other risks to their health. It's just a crappy year.
 

clipped_wings

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27 March
On Monday 23 March - the Canterbury Leagues Club , it's affiliates and every other licenced venue in NSW closed their doors for an unspecified time, in response to the Australian Government's orders to combat the spread of COVID-19. On that day, in that instant - our world and the world of millions (yes millions) of people - fell apart. The last sign we installed for them read: WE ARE CLOSED

It's now the 27th of March??? Where did the last four days go? Did I live them? Did I sleep through them? I must have been awake, because I distinctly remember the calls to Centrelink, the Bank, the Utilities....the list goes on. Most of all, I remember the call to our favourite contact for Canterbury. I ring the number I have rung a thousand times before. It picks up and a hollow voice answers. I am overcome with emotion. I choke back tears and say in my most professional voice "Oh darling, it's me. How are you? I am so devastated for you right now". Somehow it sounds more condescending than comforting. These amazing people I have had the pleasure to call friends for over 20 years now. There are no words. We are both hurting beyond belief right now. She is hurting because they let us down. They can't ask us to supply anymore. I am hurting because this vibrant, young, professional woman is now unemployed and I can't help her. We chat about superficial things - anything but the obvious elephant in the room. She asks me what we'll do. I lie. I say we'll be fine. She knows I am lying. I reiterate that we'll pick up where we left off when all this madness ends. I wish her the very best and promise to stay in touch.

I hang up the phone and cry uncontrollably as I realize the odds of seeing her again as a customer are remote at best. I've watched some of these young people grow up. They were interns when they started. Some have married and gone on to have families. They are my family. But none of them can wait this out. We can't wait this out. Who has the money to suspend their whole life for 6, 12 months, possibly more? Who can beat those odds?

And that is where I am today. Trying to rationalize. Weighing up those odds. Not against Coronavirus. I know we'll prevail there. We are far too accomplished as a race to let this silly illness deviate us from our evolution.

Right now, I am giving thanks that we are all safe and well. The people who mean more to me than anything are safe and well. But it has reminded me that you don't have to acquire COVID-19 to lose. It takes from you as it sees fit. Whether that be your job, your dignity or (God forbid) your loved ones. I watch my darling husband as he places another beloved Holden on Carsales, just so we can pay the bills for the nest 6 months. I am filled with gratitude that his first thought is to protect me and our kids.
The factory doesn't matter. The job doesn't matter. The house doesn't matter. There are quite literally, millions of people out there that will lose so much more than us.

I'm listening to the young Chinese boy next door. He has been in isolation for the last month. He was super sick. But he's singing today. Out of tune, I might add.

I smile. And it feels good.
 

clipped_wings

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You are all grieving this loss plus concern for your daughter. Heartbreaking for all. 💔

As far as business goes, you are not alone. In fact, other than emergency services that is the norm. But those people face other risks to their health. It's just a crappy year.
Yes, we have much to be thankful for, despite the pain. There are many of us on the front line, they are suffering too x
 

clipped_wings

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I want to give many more hugs than the one we are allowed.
Oh Drron, that is so sweet of you to say. If there's one thing I can bank on, it's the support from my friends at AFF. Thank you for reaching out x
Post automatically merged:

Listening @clipped_wings - helpless, but listening.

😢
Not helpless at all. I appreciate your support. Listening is the most powerful support anyone can give x
 

Denali

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Im so sad and sorry reading this. As someone that has been on the receiving end of your out of nowhere, simply because you care kindness, its makes me so angry that its just not one hit but hit after hit after hit.

Im glad youre here, Im glad your daughter is here and has you. Typed words mean so little when they cant fix whats happening but I truly will be thinking of you and the family.
 

tgh

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The devastating reality enveloping Clipped wings is being played out in a thousand / ten thousand /a million+ ... households and businesses across the world.
I am very emotionally controlled, but have been in tears many times in the last few weeks as the death toll , along with the emotional and economic devastation , rises and rises and….
Words fail in times like this…there are so many in so much trouble.
I guess if we wake up in the morning , warm , well , and considerably poorer…life could be worse
 

Pushka

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The devastating reality enveloping Clipped wings is being played out in a thousand / ten thousand /a million+ ... households and businesses across the world.
I am very emotionally controlled, but have been in tears many times in the last few weeks as the death toll , along with the emotional and economic devastation , rises and rises and….
Words fail in times like this…there are so many in so much trouble.
I guess if we wake up in the morning , warm , well , and considerably poorer…life could be worse
Oh I have given up thinking and just roll day to day. If I stopped to think I'd be more of a mess than I am. I'm trying not to hate. That is hard.
 

clipped_wings

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To everyone here who has sent me warm thoughts and hugs - thank you! It means more to me than you will ever know. @Denali you are a special friend who always makes me smile with your witty posts. Thank you @mrsterryn - I did look into this and sadly they are showing priority to ex-Qantas staff (anyone got an old uniform I can borrow?) ;););)

Life is really just a bunch of stuff that happens. I can't control the actions of the world. But I can control my reaction. So today, I am reading back over the plethora of posts I have written to AFF over the years. It's actually quite therapeutic. Some of my stuff was pretty corny, some funny, much of it was deeply disturbing. But all of it was me at various moments just being me.

Today is Saturday and I reserve the right to NOT discuss the problems of the world OR the problems of Clipped Wings. It's sunny, my yard needs mowing and I have a pile of ironing so high that if I fell off it I would hurt myself. So again, thank you all for being such kind friends. I shall take my leave and go hug my husband & kids once more. Hugs to you all as well xx
 

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