We’re overjoyed to have our teenage daughter home with us during the pandemic; she’d come home for Spring break and school is now closed for the duration of the Spring term.

We sat outside as the sun set last night and were having our now regular al fresco dinner. I like to ask our daughter about her school day, and she’s usually ready to give a full account, including if shezoned out of the virtual lessons sometime or had some technical problems—yesterday, her Internet connection was poor for the start of class; fortunately, sessions are recorded, if needed. We got on with the eating and the conversations that now flow over many topics, including the latest on the pandemic in both The Bahamas and Jamaica. We talked about friends who had to get tested (and came back negative)–the virus is catching a ride and it’s likely that a close friend or relative will be infected, so this is now a likely topic. Two friends of mine in England had already tested positive and, thankfully, got through the symptoms in a couple of weeks and life seems back to normal for them.

Zoom session
Long school day done and need to unwind
Afternoon dominoes

My wife’s family now has regular Zoom sessions, Wednesday and Sunday. It’s a lot of noise and talking over each other, but they love the link-up. My mother-in-law misses her children in Nassau, so it’s especially important for her to hear and see them and deal with matters big and small in Nassau.

Stay-home living has to find its own shape and rhythm, and after some 6 weeks, our routines have taken on certain shapes, but nothing is fixed, which is a good thing. It’s funny how fresh can mean just little differences between what was and is. I start my day long before dawn and enjoy the change from dark to light and the early morning bird songs. I catch up with news and think about writing; I’m a regular blogger, and the stay-home routine is ideal for focusing and I’m happy to journal in my own way; I traded a spot on a kitchen counter and love being surrounded by natural things. I’m getting a feel for the rhythm of the birds in our yard, which has a lot of hibiscus and bougainvillea, both nectar and colour. Parrots start cawing and flying around soon after dawn.

My wife surfaces around 7-7.30 and heads straight into coffee-making, her lifeline 🙂 She reads the papers and may get an early jump on her work or watch some morning. US news.

Our daughter gets up about 7.30 and school starts at 8.30; she usually organizes some breakfast for herself. Our housekeeper may drop down about 7.30 to get things started for the grands’ breakfast. The grands show up at about 9. It’s nearly ‘lunch’ time for me, by then 🙂 I exercise early, and do some golf drills around dawn, while I’m checking on my yard, which is now yielding Julie mangoes. It’s lovely and cool, then.

How lucky we are! We have sunshine every day. Some Jamaican friends decided to head to England to be with their adult children once the scale of the pandemic was clear, and have been there about a month. I was exchanging messages yesterday about electricity bill and he was lamenting how they were having to pump up the heating to stay comfortable. He left Jamaica’s need for cooling off, for England’s need to heat up. Hmm. 🙂 In recent days, we’ve been enjoying the occasional heavy breezes during days that have given us highs around 88-90F/32-33C. I’ve taken heed of reports that exposure to sunlight and vitamin D help ward off COVID19, and made my ‘office’ on our deck. It’s a twist on the social distancing need. I’m better placed to watch nature and get in my exercise, even if it’s just walking to and from the house.

Al fresco working space

Whist foursomes are now easier to form

Of course, we”re enjoying our daughter being captive unexpectedly with us. She misses her peers at school, and also those in Jamaica, who are near but so far with having to stay at home. But, she has a lot of contact with her grands. She’s old enough to be able to help them a lot, though her schedule means that from breakfast time to end of her day, they may only glimpse each other for a few moments. Yesterday, was a bit different. She ended her class and came to have her patty lunch with me on the deck. We chatted a bit and then listened to a range of dance music I chose from over the decades. After that, she was summoned to try to resolve a WhatsApp problem with her grand-aunt; that took about a good hour. She headed up for a rest but had to come back to help out again. Then, back to her room. That was around 5pm. We had dinner about 6.45 after the family Zoom-ed and we were all together. She decided to do her homework sitting in a bean bag, while the rest of the family watched a film on TV.

After some initial problems, we have navigated successfully competing demands for Internet access, especially as my wife and daughter both have major continuous needs during each weekday. My wife organized more powerful WiFi access for her and our kid–I don’t have the password :). I’ve tinkered with the basic set up and have learned a little about how routers conflict and found a variety of workarounds. It’s a bit frustrating because I know competing for bandwidth occurs easily and I just want to try to keep my access seamless. I’ve also learned that not all streaming apps are the same and can be really sensitive in a not-too-consistent way to WiFi buffering. Most of my critical things I try to get done in the wee hours before others appear.

I crash about 8.30pm and try to relax with some music before dropping asleep. My wife usually heads up by 9.30 and switches over to some US news programme; 😦 usually, I’m dozing off by then. I find the house locked up when I wake next morning. We start to roll again.