Lockdown Bingo

My card is nearly full. Omitting all the relationship items for privacy reasons (and all the awesome things other people did, they can list them in their own blogs), I learned to knit and finished three scarves. I trimmed my own moustache. I established a workout routine and stick to it, mostly. I walk a great deal – in fact, of all commuters to Vienna who use the walking app I use, I walk the furthest (or the second-furthest, someone named Inga is tough competition. The app ranks you overall and by district, and includes a “district” for out-of-town commuters). My first attempt at rye bread was perfect. How perfect was it? When I talk about my excellent scones, everyone says, “you really must bake rye bread again. The crust was perfect.”

    (The secret to very excellent scones is to grate frozen butter into the flour mixture and cut it in, rather than just cutting in cold butter. I don’t know why, but these turned out with a nice crisp surface. I think the secret to the rye bread crust is to bake it hot the first 20 minutes, 250C, then reduce that to 200 for the last 40 minutes, or whatever. As always, don’t take my word for it, consult a cookbook.)

I cooked a lot in general. I cooked General Tso’s Chicken for my birthday. I made rhubarb jam, and lemon marmalade, and two different kinds of elder flower jelly.
I learned that inactivity makes you depressed, but it’s a depression preferable to that caused by working and commuting.
I planted the raised beds (not, however, to my lasting dismay and even more to her lasting dismay, in the layout planned by my wife). I pulled a lot of weeds and mowed the lawn a lot. About all I have left on my list is something creative I had originally planned to spend all my extra time doing – like photography or writing – and a pull up, for which I currently lack the upper body strength and the pull up bar. I could go to a playground or the local park and try to work my way up to a pull up there on the lower children’s bars, but I imagine I would make nannies uneasy and I don’t want to be the one people are talking about when they tell their therapists twenty years from now, “I don’t know if it’s a real memory or somehow implanted but I remember a man with a bushy white beard and white hair up in a scraggly bun, wearing a business suit (the man, not the hair) hanging at a 45-degree angle beneath the children’s pull up bar in the park. That bun haunts my dreams yet.”

Lockdown Diary – The Pavilion

Opening shot: Satellite view of Earth, zooming in Google Earth-style on Europe, then Austria, then general vicinity of Vienna, then small village, then backyard of a house, then flames and sound of explosion and fire.
Man rushes out of house with fire extinguisher, puts out fire, cursing.
Man: Goddamn it.
Woman: Oh, you’re busy.
Woman: I have another job for you when you’re done with the satellite fire.
Man: Ok.
Woman: We need to put the curtains on the pavilion.
Man sighs
Man: Ok
Woman: Here. The mosquito net curtain elements have a hook on the outside, so I think they go on the outside. Remember last time we put them on the inside and there was nowhere for the hook to go?
Man: I guess.
Man snaps grommets along top edge of mosquito curtain element to plastic hooks on outside rail.
Woman: Here is the next one, see, the numbers match.
Man snaps next one in place.
Man tries to zip the two elements together. Although the numbers and zip elements match, the two elements do not reach each other. One is too long the other too short.
Woman: Hm.
Man finds pliers in cellar, returns to carefully remove elements again, unsnapping metal grommets from fragile plastic hooks of which they have only one extra.
Woman: Look this is the long side and this is the short side. So these go there.
Man: Ok (snaps all four mosquito curtain elements in place along the outside rail.
Woman: Wait, hang on.
Man:
Woman: Look, the heavier shade curtains have these slits in them. They must be for the hooks in the other, mosquito curtain elements. That makes more sense – then the mosquito curtain elements would be on the inside, protected from cats.
Man: So I should take all these back down?
Woman: Yes.
Man: Ok.
Man: I need to go brush my teeth.
Man brushes teeth, sighs, carefully unclips the four mosquito elements.
Neighbor 1, observing from balcony: Vat are ze rules of ze pavilion drinking game again?
Neighbor 2, observing from another balcony: Venever dey remove a curtain element hung in error, ve must drink a J├Ągermeister.
Neighbor 1: Dey will take all afternoon and I am already drunk.
Man checks which is the long and which the short side of the heavier shade curtain elements, carefully clips one onto the proper place on the outside rail.
Woman: Wait a second. Let’s look at the website.
Woman looks at website, finds the entry for the pavilion which has a tiny, unenlargeable thumbnail image from which it is impossible to tell if the mosquito curtain elements are on the inside rail or the outside rail.
Woman: Let me call the store.
Woman calls store, actually finds someone who actually finds her order for the pavilion in the computer but has to look for the instruction manual but can’t find it so will have to find someone with more expertise who will call back.
Man: This is the most logical arrangement. Let’s just put it together.
Man: I’m not mad at you. This is just frustrating, clipping the metal grommets onto the fragile plastic hooks, then removing them again, the metal grommets are made of soft but sharp metal, and we have only one spare hook so I’m afraid of breaking them.
Man hangs first shade element onto outside rail.
Woman: No, look, the short side is where the long side should be. That goes over there, not here.
Neighbor 1: OMG
Man and woman hang outside elements where they belong, then inside elements.
Woman: Ok now about assembling those hammocks.
Man wonders if he would die instantly if he stabbed himself with a knitting needle in the brain, or if it would hurt first, or if he would only lobotomize himself, and what it’s like to be lobotomized, subjectively it might be nice.
Man: Tomorrow.
Woman: But it’s so warm today. (looks at weather app) and tomorrow it’s 1 degree cooler.
Man: Let me write a blog post first.
Woman (on the phone with furniture company that sold them the pavilion, complaining about the hooks)
Woman: They said to send them a picture of the hooks. Maybe I can get a refund.
Man: Ok.