Temporary Reprieve

Temporary Reprieve

Although I have been self-isolating since the beginning of March, Attila has had to go to work, and out to buy groceries. When he ventured out for food he wore clothes that were removed and washed immediately, wore gloves, and a face mask. But at work, these precautions were not possible. Working cheek by jowl at the plant where he worked felt dangerous. It was dangerous. When a cold/flu (everyone thought it was a cold/flu) spread quickly through the plant, Attila caught it. That was early in March, he was off one day without pay, to sleep and recuperate. One of his work mates eneded up in hospital. So we knew that if the virus arrived at the plant, the chances of getting it were very high. Then two managers returned from out-of-country flights, and came to work. Horrifying and negligent in my opinion. All of these things have made the month of March a time of extreme worry, and desperate strategizing.

Then, the week before last, they laid people with less seniority (younger people) off. They did not accept the requests of those more senior employees that wanted to be chosen for layoff, so that they could self-isolate and keep themselves and their families safe. Attila and I were horrified at the lack of humanity of the decision to reject volunteers for layoff, on the part of the employer. So Attila arranged to use his vacation time to stay home and self-isolate. This past week, although we have enjoyed his time off, we also felt the increasing dread of his needing to go back to work. We talked for hours, trying to figure out a way to survive financially, and stay safe. Finally we decided to risk everything if we had to, to self-isolate.

Last night Attila received notice that he too had been laid off work, indefinitely. I burst into tears when he relayed the news to me. We have been so frightened, for so long, that this sudden, very welcome development felt like being reprieved from a death sentence. Attila will receive Employment Insurance, our income will fall drastically, and our chances of living through this crisis has been optimized.

Last night he did all the “paperwork” requested by the employer and the government. We were both exhausted, tense, and emotional. He got the job done, what a relief.

Attila described the last few months as feeling as if he was being pushed, hard, and that the pressure increased gradually, relentlessly, to become quite intense. The pressure required increasing internal resources to remain balanced and upright. The news last night instantly removed the pressure, but the resistance didn’t disappear immediately. That pretty much described what I have been experiencing as well, as we have watched the virus begin to colonize the inadequately-lead human populations around the world, pressure has been mounting for us, as we have struggled to keep ourselves safe.

Last night Attila and I were faced with the sudden removal of a dire threat, we were stunned. We did not immeiately adjust to the vacuum left when the pressure was removed. We kept our routine, went to bed, and to sleep at our regular time. But within an hour we were both wide awake and restless. We needed time to take stock of our situation, to explore our new, less terrifying situation, to allow the new reality to sink in.

We puttered about into the wee hours of the night. Attila spent his time reviewing his basement projects. I spent my time cancelling things. I had already cancelled Netflix, but we had a few more monthly bills that are fluff, and won’t be affordable on our new budget. One was my audible account, which I have enjoyed immensely, it is just not a viable expense at the moment. Another was Attila’s cell phone, which is an emergency phone only, needed while he had to work. I reduced that bill to a minimum, $7 per month, and removed the method of payment, so that no more billing will come through, we are already running a credit of over $90, so it will be at least 7 months before we have to make a decision about the cell phone, and we will know more about how we will be situated at that time.

So here we are, the two of us alone in our bubble. But we aren’t alone, not really, there are many other people, all over the planet, in their bubbles. It is a new kind of “we”.

We don’t know what our future holds, if Attila will be called back to work before the dangers have passed, if we will become seriously ill, if our friends and loved ones will become seriously ill. These concerns remain, as they do for everyone.

As part of my efforts to regain equilibrium, I decided to try a new recipe today. I am making a loaf of no knead bread, for the first time. The time-of-use billing for hydro has been suspended for 45 days, starting on the 24th of March I believe. This means I can use the daylight hours to do projects relying on electricty, instead of postponing them until the weeked. The usuall price for on-peak use if over 20 cents per kWh, and the current special price is 10 cents per kWh, half price. I love being able to get things done during the weekdays!

And Attila, well he is out there in the garden, where else!

Stay safe dear friends!



Date: 12:00 PM EDT Saturday 28 March 2020
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.8 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 5.7°C
Dew point: -1.3°C
Humidity: 61%
Wind: ENE 12 km/h
Visibility: 24 km


“Life is constantly providing us with new funds, new resources, even when we are reduced to immobility. In life’s ledger there is no such thing as frozen assets.”
Henry Miller
1891 – 1980


  1. Teri

    What a relief for you two! It sounds crazy, but I’m so glad that Attila got laid off! Keep an eye open for any gov’t hand outs that might come out for the unemployed.

    Yes, a bubble of two is good. I personally have felt very comfortable with DH and I sharing a bubble of two.

    Glad to hear the peak usage has been suspended.

    Today, we begin more work on the cottage bathroom. DH is going to replace the old toilet. Fortunately, all necessary pieces are included, so we don’t have to go to the store for anything.

  2. Sandy

    That IS a relief! I suspect you both might have been in shock for a bit to get good news when you had been dreading Attila going back to work. I hope things don’t get as bad in Canada as they are in parts of the U.S. But if your area gets to the point of sheltering in space for everyone and businesses close, it’s possible Employment Insurance benefits will be increased.
    Also, if you think your local businesses might close down in the future, you might want to start stockpiling some canned goods if you haven’t already. For some reason people in the US are hoarding toilet paper so that’s hard to find.
    For side income, take a look at Prolific.co. It’s a company that offers online surveys by academic researchers. It’s a British company but accepts U.S. citizens so I think they probably accept Canadians. Survey payments range from .30 GBP pounds to 4.00 to 5.00 pounds. You can cash out to Paypal at any time and convert the money from pounds to Canadian dollars. They do have you answer questions about yourself to establish a profile. You can then qualify for surveys and not get screened out. Everything is confidential as far as researchers never knowing your identity. Some of the surveys are quite interesting. It’s good for some extra money while you hunker down.
    I’ve never congratulated someone for being laid off but Yay Attila!!
    Stay safe my special friend.

  3. Teri, it is strange isn’t it, to be so thankful for the loss of a much needed job! But here we are, the world is crazy right now. Yes, I’ll have to watch for government aids to people who have lost their income, every penny makes a difference now.
    The time-of-use cessation is a boon to many people, I hope we never go back to time-of-use billing.
    Good luck with your bathroom update! For many of us being at home, even working at home, is allowing time for domestic projects.

    Stay safe dear friend!

  4. Sandy, it really is a relief! In a few days we will begin to settle in to our new reality. There will be tough days to come I am sure, but we will meet the challenge, universe willing. This all reminds me of a song I loved as a child, my Granny had the recording on an old 78 record, which we played on the wind up gramaphone.


    Oh! We ain`t got a barrel of money
    Maybe we`re ragged and funny
    But we`ll travel along
    Singing a song
    Side by side
    I don`t know what`s a-comin` tomorrow
    Maybe it`s trouble and sorrow
    But we`ll travel the road
    Sharing our load
    Side by side
    through all kinds of weather
    What if the sky should fall
    Just as long as we`re together
    It really doesn`t matter at all
    When they`ve all had their quarrels and parted
    We`ll be the same as we started
    Just traveling along
    Singing a song
    Side by side

    Our stores are allowing only small quantities to be purchased, so there is no stocking up now. We are hoping our garden will work out, giving us some vegetables to can and freeze for the coming year. In the meantime, we are rationing our resources.

    Thanks for the link to the survey income, I am not familar with anything like that, so it is something to look into.

    Thanks for the congratulations on Attila’s job loss, lol. Everything is upside down right now! 🙂

    Stay safe dear friend!

  5. Sandy

    Maggie I know that song! How great to hear the performance you listed.
    With your self-sufficiency, you are probably better able to weather this storm than many!

    Stay safe Maggie!

  6. I’m glad a great source of worry has been lifted from you both. (I find myself very glad for surprise! retirement January 2019… for similar reasons)… I am confident you’ll both find ways to be amused, despite a lower budget. Stay safe!!!!

  7. Thanks Joan! Surprise! retirement is turning out in our favour, health trumps $ every time. So glad you are finding that retirement suits you. The lower budget is daunting, but so many people are facing that reality, that it seems normal for the times, and there are much worse circumstances in this whole situation than having to adjust to a lower budget. We have lots of little things we want to do!
    Stay safe dear friend!

  8. Teri

    Well, the new toilet and 2/3rds of the flooring is in. What a difference, already. We’re going from dark green walls and dark brown floor from the previous owners to white walls and a vinyl tile that’s white, Caribbean blue and sand tones. So much brighter!

    And with the new shower we put in last year, now we can remove the leaky pedastle sink and put in a tiny bathroom vanity, which is also white.

    Stay safe dear friend!

  9. Teri, congratulations! It is so satisfying when you can see how the renovation is going to look. Your colours sound beautiful. I prefer a bright bathroom, so cheerful. There isn’t much left to complete your project.
    Stay safe dear friend!

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