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Fiction Drama Contemporary

The “To Do” List

Today is a Sunday, the only reason I know that is correct is when I put the television on, and the channels are showing religious programs. Thank goodness the television knows what day of the week it is, because I am struggling to do so. I have no idea what the date is, there was no real need to know any more as one day is the same as another. 

The pandemic hit early in the year, I don’t remember the date, and it seems to have been so long ago. And then not long after, the lockdown. 

According to the pandemic news being continually broadcast, we were advised to rush out, shop for everything we may need for a few weeks, then lock the doors, fearful that if they are open, that little virus would find its way into our homes and perpetrate our lives.

The first thing we did was create a “To Do” List that will keep us occupied for the next few weeks. It was quite a long list, cupboards needed cleaning, photo albums needed sorting, and a veggie patch could be started. We stuck it firmly on the front of our fridge, a magnet showing a picture of our grandchildren ensuring it did not move.

I started knitting rugs for the grandchildren for Christmas. I unpacked boxes of wool in various colors and all sizes of needles.  My first rug had been started, a basket weave stitch showing bright yellow and white stripes. 

The trouble with a “To Do” List is that it seemed to grow, so we always had something to do every day. It did not matter what day it was, or even what the date was, as long as we had our “To Do” List, we would be able to wait out the pandemic and the lockdown would be over in no time.

In the pre-pandemic days, Mondays were always cleaning and mowing days, according to the calendar. Every fortnight, on a Monday, people came to the house to do these chores for us. There was no need to check the calendar any more, cleaners and mowing people would not be arriving to mop our floors, and mow our grass. We were too afraid they would transfer the virus onto our furniture, or mower, or worst of all, us!!

The only problem was that now we did not have to stick to a particular day. Tt did not matter if we did these chores on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday. As long as they were on the “To Do” List, they would be completed, eventually.

I quite often asked my husband “Is it today we clean the bathroom, change the bed linen, and mop the floors”. 

He replied, “It does not really matter; we could do them today or maybe tomorrow, if we liked. No one will be coming to visit, not even our children and grandchildren.”

We tried to keep the momentum going of Monday being the day to do the cleaning and mowing, but the days seem to meld into one, and there were so many other things on our “To Do” List, perhaps we could put those chores off till tomorrow, and do the gardening today. He wanted to work in his veggie patch, and I wanted to keep knitting my rug.

The days came and went; we woke in the morning, had our breakfast, and checked the “To Do” List. It had grown quite considerably; I now had to order groceries on line, which seemed to take me all day to do, and then be available for the delivery. This also was a cumbersome task, as we had to wash everything. So delivery day of groceries was an ‘all day’ affair, this needed to be put in the “To Do” List more than once, as I quite liked to tick all the boxes in the Woolies website and order lots of things we did not really need, but you never know, we may need them one day.

Shopping on line can also be done any time of the day, or any day of the week, so anything we may need to buy, like new clothes, garden products or general household items needed to also go on the “To Do” List, and it seemed to take a lot longer to order online than just go into the shops and buy them.

Our “To Do” List replaced our calendar. Instead of dates to watch for, we had dot points on the specific jobs we wanted to do first on our “To Do” List or some that needed to be finished. 

As it was not a necessity to remember dates and days of the week to complete the jobs on our “To Do” List, we struggled to remember them, but knew every entry on our List. 

Easter time is usually a special time for our family, we get together for the old fashioned bar-b-que, exchanging Easter eggs and enjoying our family. However the lockdown meant this was not going to happen and it was a sad time for us.   

The actual date of Easter I did not even know or really care about, but the time when we could talk to our children through “Zoom” was noted in large letters on the top of our now very full “To Do” List.

Because we could not go to our Church, we watched the religious services on television on Sundays. It was good to know the day of the week every now and then, Monday always came after Sunday, but by the time the next morning came around, the actual day seemed to be gone into the back of our memories, and we were back to our “To Do” List to follow, which did not have any dates or days allotted. It was our bible during the lockdown, something solid which could be held in our hands, full of many things to keep our minds and hands busy.

My husband’s veggie garden flourished, he ordered his seeds on line, and waiting anxiously for the postman to deliver them. Then he spent time working out where to put them, and eventually seeing wonderful carrots sprout from the ground and lettuces growing abundantly. Tomato bushes were his favorite, and we still have many tomato plants coming up in different places in the garden, once you have one plant, they seem to spread like wildfire. 

My rug was growing at an alarming rate. It was time to finish that one, and start on another. More wool found its way out of the box, pink and purple, the grandchildren were going to love these rugs for their Christmas presents, I hoped. I found patterns for dolls and teddy bears, and they were also put on the “To Do” List, more presents for the grandchildren at Christmas.

Our “To Do” List is still on fridge, and is constantly changing.  The pandemic is still there, and we are still cautious, We do not stress about dates of the month or doing a specific job on a specific day of the week, the days of the week still meld into one, whatever is not done today, can be done tomorrow. 

The virus has taught us that our family are the most important part of our lives, and if we forget what the day or date of the month is, we are not concerned. We will always have our “To Do” List to carry us through, better than a calendar any day.

March 06, 2021 05:03

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2 comments

Jungle Clover
04:07 Mar 19, 2021

This piece was excellently written. All of the small details helped effectively pull me into the scene from the first to the last word. It's remarkable to me how similar and yet different all of our quarantine experiences are.

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02:57 Mar 20, 2021

Hi, thanks for the words of encouragement. I have only just started writing, and enjoy it immensely. Our quarantine is still ongoing, we all have to be aware of the consequences. Thanks.

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