Delta hits NZ – Level 4 incoming

Tuesday 17 August 2021 – Dunedin, NZ

6:35pm – The world’s going to hell in a hand basket, and it all seems a lil familiar. Afghanistan has been taken over by the Taliban, Haiti has had a massive earthquake and we’re going back into lockdown. NZ has the motto of going “hard and fast” (ooh err) so the whole country is going into level 4 lockdown as we have one case of (potential) Delta variant. We smashed it before and we can do it again. It’s only for 3 days, and a week for Auckland where the case is.

I came home from work early today as I wasn’t feeling too well and luckily (?) brought my laptop home with me. (Temperature so far normal). The masks are in the wash, I got groceries yesterday – not nearly enough chips and wine though.

No change to life for Mr Work-from-home-Pigalina. Was relying on a free lunch in my meeting tomorrow so I guess I’m making pasta bake for tea so we have leftovers. Catch ya tomorrow in lockdown.


Fourth round – Level 2 day 2

Monday March 1st – Dunedin, NZ

10:17am – Still waiting for my COVID test result.

People online (FB mainly so am avoiding) are losing their minds at the moment asking why everywhere except Auckland (who are in level 3 (i.e. one step down from full lockdown which means stay at home)) is in level 2 “lockdown” as if cars and planes don’t exist. It’s hardly lockdown, shops and cafes are still open – you just can’t have more than 100 people gathering and need to keep ya distance.

1:04pm – Thought I’d better have a shower. I didn’t want to miss my results phone call but risked it.

10:18pm – Off to bed so I can be off to work tomorrow. Now I have the all clear and feel better too I can call in on my Dad tomorrow for his birthday, which was today. His present is tickets to a show that will be in the process of being rescheduled but it’s the thought that counts right?

I dunno about you, but it feels like level 2. Fourth round: COVID level 2 – day 1

Sunday February 28 – Dunedin, NZ

11:21am – At 6am this morning Auckand went to level 3 and the rest of us went back to level 2 COVID precautions for 1 week. There are 13 community cases from one cluster and some of those with the virus have been caught out not isolating when they should have been, thus possibly spreading it more around our largest city.

I have just been for a COVID test. I’m hot and clammy, have a weird feeling throat and a gumminess in my sinuses. So thought it best. I then got quite out of breath walking up the small hill back to my car.

It’s unlikely I will have it but you never know – We live in a University city and thousands of new students from around the country have arrived in town; I work in a building with hundreds of people all using the same lifts and was in the North Island two weeks ago and my meeting included people from Auckland and airport time.

It was a stressful drive in to the testing station, my petrol gauge has been screaming at me since yesterday to refuel. When I pulled up at the petrol station I discovered my cards were still at home – thank goodness I hadn’t filled up first! So then, petrol running low and no time to turn back and still make my appointment in time I drove on, making sure to coast down the hills to conserve petrol. Then I seemed to get every traffic light and was dive bombed by a few seagulls with death wishes.

The test itself wasn’t as awful as I was anticipating but it still isn’t something I’ll put my hand up for unnecessarily. It was a weird wiggling feeling on the way in and out and burning sensation under my right eye during which continued all the way home.

4:08pm – They said I don’t have to self isolate and nor does Mr Pigalina but to be safe we’re holed up at home. As Mr Pigalina said “ I don’t want to be on the news…” (The latest case that has pretty much led to the lockdown got tested and then went to the gym, sweating his COVID all over the place).

10:04pm – Another case in Auckland but no result for me yet. Night night.

Third round: COVID level 2 – day 3

Wednesday 17th February 2021 – Dunedin, New Zealand

4:26pm – Level 2 is pretty much normality so not a heck of a lot to report. Waiting for the Prime Minister’s announcement at 4:30pm following two more community cases.

One of the lifts was playing up this morning so five of us piled into one with no social distancing because nope to six flights of stairs first thing in the morning.

4:37pm – Where is the update? Managed to take two phone calls while waiting.

4:39pm – Here we go.

4:45pm – Three new cases.

4:47pm – Back to level 1 for us, level 2 for Auckland. That was short and sweet. Catch ya later – hopefully the next spark for the blog won’t be COVID related.

Third round: COVID level 2 – day 2

Tuesday 16th February 2021 – Dunedin, New Zealand

7:45am – Dreamt about going to a gig in a pub and getting laughed at by old dudes for scanning the COVID tracker. Now getting ready to go to my office to sit in a pod and breathe the recirculating air of 50 or so people.

9:52am – Hells bells, trying to listen to a Zoom meeting and everyone is talking all around me at full volume.

1:09pm – A colleague called past my desk and chatted so I’ll have to rewind the live stream.

12:54pm – Popped out at lunchtime for a walk. Very satisfactory levels of COVID tracer scanning noted. I’m now back at my desk awaiting the daily cases update. I am eating leftovers from the lunchroom for lunch, which in hindsight is unwise. I’m not sure if they realise but everyone can hear the people in the briefing room chatting ahead of the daily update livestream. Someone apparently has a lovely jacket.

1:16pm – No new cases!

Third round: COVID level 2 – day 1

Monday 15th February 2021 – Dunedin, New Zealand

7:06am – Well the crazy dreams are back. Spent the whole night at the supermarket and work talking about COVID. This time round alert level 2 is planned to only last three days. Fingers crossed!

8:43am – Walking to work I was the only one not on a bus wearing a mask and nobody in the office is either so nor am I out of shame. Am awaiting further info but am totally fine to work from home guys.

12:04pm – During the main lockdown I realised I don’t need to live in hustle and bustle, being close to shops and cinemas. I have an ever-growing urge to move to a little village by the sea.

At lunch people were mindful to sit one metre away from each other and in the lifts we stand in the corners.

3:53pm – A year ago today I was in Perth, Australia for my sister’s wedding. There were rumblings of a crazy virus overseas but it was business as usual, and now I’m here with the rest of my office waiting for the Prime Minister’s announcement at 4pm.


4:11pm – Here they are! Update time.

4:14pm – Still only the three community cases at this stage so no change for us and Auckland remains in level 3.

4:53pm – I should leave now in order to beat the rush in the lifts.

5:36pm – Popped to the supermarket for essentials, boxed wine and cardamom. The only difference was you had to pack your own bag.

Third round: COVID level 2 T-minus 4.5 hours

February 14 2021 7:26pm

About to head into level two again, I had to look up what that actually means – mainly social distancing and a mask if that’s not possible. Guess I’m wearing a mask to work tomorrow then.

I literally just travelled to the North Island for two nights last week and met up with colleagues from all over NZ and that was just lil old me. Since the newest cases likely caught COVID, there has been Chinese New Year, Waitangi weekend, gigs and Valentines Day meaning a whole bunch of gatherings and weddings so I’m anticipating quite a few more cases.

We have had it very easy lately, other countries have had multiple strict lockdowns and untold numbers of deaths. We’ve been fortunate enjoying Christmas and summer holidays but hopefully that means people haven’t become complacent…

Of course they have, barely anyone scans the COVID tracer QR codes.

Second round: COVID level 2 day 6

Monday 17th August 2020

7:34am – We find out today if the election is postponed. Woke up in the night thinking about work and there’s already an email with something not my problem to deal with. Sigh.

8:25am – I should go back home, it’s gonna be one of those days. I bent my licence plate pulling into my tight car park then almost got taken out by a cyclist on this silly bit of cycle way where it and the footpath swap sides.

8:33am – And I left my laptop at home 😭😭😭 Luckily the guy who will be sitting next to me doesn’t start till next week. I can use his one.

1:06pm – Lunch at my desk to listen to COVID update. Election postponed, nine new cases. Learnings from lockdown was just how much money we wasted buying lunch out (I say we but Mr Pigalina works from home) so I have been very strict on bringing lunch from home despite delicious food trucks parking outside work most days.

4:44pm – Skipped one lift at work as it already had three people in it for social distancing purposes only to have four people pile in with me and the other lady in the lift I did take.

Second round: COVID level 2 day 5

Sunday 16th August 2020

9:22am – Like I mentioned last time, level 2 is not terribly different to everyday life apart from trying to socially distance, so we will see if today generates anything out of the ordinary.

1:33pm – 13 more cases, all in Auckland.

3:08pm – Not COVID related but I’m about to attempt to make a macrame shopping bag. The kit says beginner… First I have to cut 36 3 metre long cords. It’s already too hard.

3:38pm – Far out, cutting the cords took half an hour.

4:56pm – Delicious ice cream from the ice cream man. He is very persistent and comes to our neighbourhood every Sunday even in Winter. I heard one of the local kids ask a friend if the ice cream man was wearing a face mask. He was not. Back to knotting my cord.

7:05pm – 2 and a half Lifetime Channel movies down and still only halfway through my bag. (Psycho BFF, High School Lover and the last half of Harry and Meghan: Becoming Royal in case you were wondering. I have become quite the connoisseur of Lifetime Channel movies over the past couple of weeks as they are great background fodder. Hot tip – skip Stalked by a reality star and watch High School Lover it has a pretty similar story but way better acting. James Franco is in it. He must have had some bills to pay).

10:13pm – Finally done. Messed up the handles a bit. At least now I have a skill for the zombie apocalypse – I could make hammocks, string vests and bags to carry meagre supplies.

Will probably end up using it for laundry on holidays.

Guess who’s back, back again, COVID’s back, tell a friend

Saturday 15th August 2020

Well, it’s been a while since NZ came out of any kind of lockdown but COVID has managed to sneak back in, so our largest city is back in level 3 and the rest of us are at level 2. Level 2 basically means trying to keep 1-2 metres away from people. And no lovely work-from-home order.

Since April, when we last met, Mr Pigalina’s Aunty passed away and was laid to rest with her poor daughter having to be live-streamed in from Australia due to quarantine restrictions. The dog has had a huge tumour on his thigh,that grew rapidly during lockdown, removed, and another massive lump under his front leg removed as a precaution. Then in England my Nan went to hospital at death’s door with suspected COVID but it turned out to be a mix-up with her medication so she is back home again now. It’s been a bit of a roller coaster but life was pretty much getting back to normal.

(Warning – Poor me paragraphs ahead). I had been already having a couple of very stressful weeks work-wise (the above didn’t help) resulting in an enormous stress cold sore, potential high blood pressure and a racing heart all culminating in a wine fuelled meltdown “I just need a f***ing break”. I got all my work squared up and booked two days off work. Then we had the announcement.

So leave was canceled with a view to take all my owed lunch breaks from the week in a lump and have Friday afternoon off when I had my blood pressure check booked. Woke up in the night with an incredibly sore shoulder caused by tensing up due to stress and tensing up in the cold walking to and from work. Spent the morning juggling my regular work and COVID related changes and watched my afternoon off slowly fade away. On the plus side though I DON’T have high blood pressure, just stress.

So, Lockdown Diary is back, even though I stopped doing it when we moved to level 2 last time as level 2 is not terribly exciting. (I just realised I worked from home for a whole month after I finished writing). This time it is planned that the country will remain in level 2 for two weeks and Auckland will stay in level 3 for that time. Unless things go cray.

There was panic buying in our town as soon as the level 2 announcement was made with toilet paper and bread sold out at my local supermarket and reports of people abusing the staff there. (I’ll hold my hand up and admit to buying more toilet paper than we needed ahead of lockdown (as a student I once had to use the free student newspaper as toilet paper when we’d run out so didn’t want to find myself in that situation again. They print it on shiny paper these days anyway so would be of no use) but we all got through fine so everyone should have learned this time around). At work people have been making masks out of socks, Mum went to the store to get elastic for masks, it was sold out but she found some in her hoard at home.

There’s still a few travel sized boxes of tissues if you get desperate.

I think we are all caught up. Oh – I have managed to wear my Dr Ashley Bloomfield t-shirt, purchased in lockdown, on numerous occasions, including today. Now we have caught up.

11:27am – About to venture out to buy storage boxes. Mr Pigalina will be staying home as he may have had a wee bit too much wine last night.

11:52am – Social distancing means queuing to get into shops. I forgot that. We have also been asked to scan a QR tracking code upon entry everywhere although I didn’t see anyone else do it…

At least it’s sunny out.

12:37pm – At the chip shop, I need to get home for Dr Bloomfield at 1pm!

4:23pm – After a productive day of moving things into our newly accessible loft space and a freezing cold walk for the dog it is relax time. Mr Pigalina is in the Appalachian wastelands of Fallout 76 and I have some Sims to try and get into university.

6:51pm – One thing I enjoyed very much about lockdown was that while I worked from home I had chance in the down times to prep dinner. I usually had an idea of what to have and it didn’t feel like a chore to cook and you had to make do with what was already at home. Not anymore. What the heck am I going to cook for tea tonight?

11:22pm – We had chicken stir fry. I’m off to bed.

(Shoutout to Leilei who inspired level 2 diary)