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  • Heather Haylock

The Zebra made me do it!

Captain’s Log 27-3-20

Covid-19-Date 1


We are all in our homes for the duration of Alert Level 4 in New Zealand. The Covid-19 virus is here and we are doing all we can to shut it down.

I've decided to keep a little log of funny things that happen in our home during this time. We can all do with a laugh.


Early this morning, my husband, Shane, woke up to me shouting and hitting him.


It was all because of the zebra.


Let me explain.


Yesterday was spent tidying out the study so Shane could work from home in there. So our family could reclaim the dining room table. So I could shut the door on his endless conference calls with people from all over the world all navigating this strange new working-at-home universe.


We have had a family meeting. We have agreed everyone should have their own lair to retreat to during this time of being in the same building 24/7.


The lounge and dining room are to be our communal ‘safe’ areas where people can congregate.


Study-at-home and work-at-home spaces are being set up or cleaned up in the lairs. The two teenagers have their rooms with desks. I have our bedroom with my writing things set up in a corner. Shane is to have the study. With a door. His job involves two giant computer screens and a lot of talking to people. Mine does not. He is driving me mad. I need for him to have a door. So the study is to be his lair for the duration.


Our study is not large. It is a cupboard with a window. We like to kid ourselves it is a study.

And because this house was built in 1922, it has very little storage space. The bedrooms have ancient free-standing carved wooden wardrobes like the one that is the doorway to Narnia.

There is nowhere for all that 21st Century family ‘stuff’ to live except for the cupboard/study. The outgrown clothes and sports equipment waiting to go to another family. The writhing snake-pit of obsolete computer and phone cables. The laminator. The gift-wrap. The Swiss ball. Photo albums. And the A4 slippery plastic bags with 12 years worth of the kids’ school photos in them.

Oh, and did I mention our current DIY job is installing new windows ourselves? So the cupboard/study is also the place for keeping powertools within easy reach, boxes of nails, levels, hammers, pencil stubs and weird little bits of wood and rubber that have something to do with the installation of windows.

And the cupboard/study is also where my Granny McFlitter school visits boxes are – containing penguins with cute knitted jumpers, a basket full of knitted vegetables, giant knitting needles and chunky yarn that can be seen from the back of a school auditorium when I demonstrate what knitting is to kids who haven’t got a clue about that. And my sewing stuff. And a yarn stash that I was horrified by when I had to actually retrieve it from various spots around the house and stuff it into a box to go into the ceiling for now. (Okay, maybe it was more than one box.)


I think you get the picture. So in order for Shane and his work colleagues from all over the world to be installed in the study, we had to have a major clear-out.


You have been patient. I promise, soon, you’ll find out where the zebra fits in all of this.

Last night Shane came out of the study with a box full of old photos. I was already busy going through drawer by drawer of sewing things. I put things I would keep in a plastic container, and consigned tiny bits of shiny stuff like ribbon and rick-rack and sequins and pretty scraps of fabric to a bag to give to the neighbour’s little girl for crafting with.


This is important. I was reaching into drawers, pulling out fabric and ribbons.


Back to the photos. Rebecca, our daugther, was marveling at the technology of negatives being in a special little pocket in the front of the envelope that processed photos came back from the photo shop in. And looking at pictures of her and her brother when they were little and cute. One of the photos had her dressed up in a zebra suit. She was three. She was stripy. She was adorable.


I went to bed last night with visions of fabric scraps dancing in my head. (Not sugar plums. What is a sugar plum anyway?)


I had a dream. A horrible dream. I was reaching into a wardrobe-sized drawer. I saw zebra-print fabric and was so excited – I thought I’d found Rebecca’s zebra suit. I would give it to our little nephew, Hamish. He would look so cute as a zebra. But . . .


. . . the zebra reached out with its nasty little hooves and grabbed me and pulled me into the drawer! I fought. I shouted. I hit. I was about to bite that zebra when I heard, “Hey! It’s me! What are you doing?!” It wasn’t a zebra. It was Shane.


This morning, Shane and his conference-call work colleagues are talking at the dining room table. I am in my lair. The kids are still asleep. We are in our bubble. Later today, we will finish setting up the study with its window and its door.


There are no zebras here.



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