Diary report 8: The Hardiman Diaries
Dear Diary, don’t remember going to bed last night but woke up surprisingly rested – despite my sleep being aided with the 2nd half of the Johnnie Walker left over from the night before.
Report 8: Day 7
Alcohol units: 82 (Drank Poppies share as well…)
Facial hair: Johnny Depp P/o Caribbean
Kids alive: 3
Potatoes: 14 + 5kg bag
Easter Eggs: 13
Despite the alcohol intake I am seemed to have quite clear head – maybe it’s not mixing with Easter egg chocolate that does the trick? Or more likely I am still drunk, and it will hit me later?
Wife very pleasant and easy going this am; she brought me coffee in bed and apologized for been so hard on me about the Easter Eggs. This worries me; something is definitely up. It took me straight back to when I was a child and my mother woke me up with Hot chocolate and breakfast…only to tell me Dad may, or may not, have run over my new bike in the driveway; it turned out he very defiantly may have. My spidey-sense on high alert!
Have run out of razor blades and my beard is getting a little scruffy…I am starting to get the look that Johnny Depp did so well in Pirates of the Caribbean but without the Johnny Depp-ness (I refer here, of course, to the first two movies – not the ones where he was just doing them for cash to pay for his divorce…they were utter cr*p and we all deserved better, even Amber Heard).
Right now, I am just going with it – Lockdown Chic I call it – but at some stage I will need to do some grooming or seek out some pirate type clothes and embrace my full J. Depp; will keep you updated dear Diary, as always.
To compensate for the bearded-homeless-lumberjack look I am currently imbuing, I did all 4 “Zoom” calls with the team, with my camera off, yesterday. I blamed SA’s crappy internet and the “broken west coastline” (Just like Cell C are doing – man they are bad!). All calls done in pajamas, no shower. Pretty sure Susan from HR had done the same…something in her voice suggested she was in a gown and slippers.
I have reset my mind (as and good lockdown Ninja should do) and refocused on the situation at hand. While Poppies fake Corona Virus may have seemed like a loss to project “Mother Russia” as we have now termed it, in actual fact it’s the perfect cover. It’s going to take a couple of days for the Doc to figure out he does not have the virus and while he is “locked” in his room I can sneak him out and into the shed – no one will miss him and he can get started on all things vodka making!
Here’s my plan.
1) Explain to the wife that as I have spent the most time with Poppie since his arrival, I should take over looking after him – if anyone has been exposed to the (fake) virus it’s me…why risk any other poor soul? Quite heroic I feel?
2) If part one “is a go” I will sneak Poppie out of his room, thankfully the spare room is downstairs, and into the shed a couple of times a day. It does mean I have to rely on him to follow the recipe but at the same time what choice do I have? I will sneak him back in for lunch, dinner etc.
3) I will rig up one of the Alexa speakers in his room and find a “snoring” track to download to my phone, then play it on repeat though the speaker and we will have an instant digital-Poppie sleeping soundly. Basically, it’s like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off but without a “Cameron” (love that guy, he is in “Succession” on HBO now…but to me he will always be Cameron)
If the plan goes as it should, I will be managing Poppie’s “health” and he will be managing the making of Vodka…could not be simpler.
Wait for the right moment to pitch the idea to wife. Needs to be done at the right time as the stress of homeschool is reaching fever pitch around here. She is so busy managing our litters education needs, in-between dealing with her “day job” of making sure that 26 other people’s kids also get educated, all online.
It’s the “other people” not their offspring that are causing the stress. Not sure what changed in education but pretty sure my mother wasn’t on the phone 3 times a day to my Sub B teacher making sure my math was right or checking to see if she was doing “my” homework correctly?
I blame WhatsApp; it makes everyone too accessible – make you own call “Karen” – does he need to go to the loo right now or not? It doesn’t require a check in with his teacher, FFS. Right now, it looks like there are 26 “Karen’s” lighting up the wife’s phone with the occasional divorced Dad sliding in to prove that he is doing as much as his ex-Karen, when it comes to keeping up on the education front.
It all looks exhausting if I am honest.
Turns out that the wife is “very grateful” and happy for me to take over daddy-in-law daycare. It’s one less thing to worry about and feels now that his illness may be nothing; which is odd as last night it was more important than watching the season ending of “Keeping up with the Kardashian’s” – let me tell you very little was getting in the way of that last January! Something up but I can’t spend time on that right now.
I murmur (quite truthfully) that I am sure it is nothing. She asks me to please to check with the doctor on what needs to be done to identify the Virus etc. I respond that I will take the utmost care of him and will contact the doctor “immediately”.
I then do, immediately call the doctors rooms, tell the receptionist its nothing and we don’t need the Doctors help and please make no further contact. Then I tell wife (quite truthfully) I have spoken to the Doctors assistant and will update her if and when I hear back. Tidy.
My next stumbling block is to retrieve the bloody Pressure cooker that Poppie, in his moment of the worst acting in history, managed to throw over the garden fence.
I pop my head over the fence and see that it hasn’t gone too far and is one piece thankfully. So no one is suspicious I start cleaning the pool with the long net, scooping the leaves off the top, but instead of dumping them back in the garden like usual, I empty it over the fence into Mrs B’s side…quite happily and with a smile I may add.
I do this a couple of times to establish a pattern, in case someone is watching. On my last trip to empty the leaves I reach over the fence a little further and manage to scoop up enough of the pot to precariously trap it in the net and bring it back to our side. As I do this, I catch Mrs. B peering through her window watching me. Damn, that woman is everywhere! No time to deal with it so I wave and smile and then duck my head very quickly, pressure pot in hand.
I finally make it to the shed, manage to stop Raymond from escaping, and set up the cooker. Feed a very discontented Raymond…cats can really throw you attitude!? And then set up the cooker for Poppie’s imminent arrival. Basically, I tell myself, this is Breaking Bad but with vegetables and a 70-year old Jesse Pinkmen. It seems as though Raymond has nibbled some of the potatoes but given his situation, I let this slide. I will release him soon once I figured that one out as well, I promise.
Have checked the Vodka potato recipe and there are challenges:
• 7 Gallons of Water (26 liters…thanks google)
• 15 Pounds of Potatoes (slightly nibbled but we are good)
• 5 Pounds of Crushed Malted Barley (WTF! Not happening…using Jungle Oats; it’s a lockdown and I wouldn’t even know where to start.)
• Mash Pot (Retrieved)
• Heat Source (Camping stove)
• Thermometer(Stole the one that was bobbing in the pool and crossing my fingers)
• Long Spoon (check)
• Fermentation Bucket (Joseph, the gardener’s, water bucket)
• Yeast (Stolen from baking cupboard)
• Siphon (will make a plan)
• Cheese Cloth (Towel we brought back from Ibiza last year but doesn’t dry you when you use it after a swim)
• Citric Acid (Stole 4 lemons? Improvise.)
• Iodine – optional (def going to optional…)
• pH Meter (Advanced) (Looking for that bloody pool cleaning kit I never use!)
• Hydrometer (No bloody idea?)
Go back into house, check on my “ailing” father-in-law who is closeted away in the spare room; he is about as happy as Raymond but with no potatoes to nibble, bring him an Easter egg. Setup the Amazon Alexa speaker in his room and explain the plan. I am pretty sure he got it, but I cannot be sure – keeps asking me if he still needs to wear the winter coat? I told him that, just like yesterday, it wasn’t an essential item in the execution of this plan. He seemed disappointed so I said he could wear it but could not be seen this time around.
I inform the wife that I have spoken to the Doctor who confirms (concurs is the proper way to say it?) it may just be nothing, but on the safe side we should let Poppie lay low for a few days; the Dog watches me with a disgusted look on its face as I spin this lie…but in times of war a little white lie is necessary.
Casually ask wife if she has a Hydrometer? She says she’s never heard of it and why? I mutter something about the kid’s school projects and walk off. Need to look it up.
As insane and exhausting as the day has panned out everything seems set for tomorrow and the start of “Project Mother Russia”. All is quiet in the compound.
Just need to decide what to do with Raymond and why my wife is acting so nice suddenly? Check bank account and Credit cards…no massive purchases so can’t be that.