This little corner of cyberspace came about after I went on a rather lovely holiday, and had the time and inclination to write about my adventures and share them via social media–which reminded me that I actually like to write.
This is essentially a personal blog, but will have a regional/South Coast (NSW) focus, because that’s where I live and work. I may sometimes link to my two existing academic blogs, Shapeshifters in Popular Culture and Autism Spectrum Disorders in Higher Education, both of which have been hanging in a kind of frozen stasis not unlike Agent Scully in those pod things (yes, there will be lots of geeky pop culture references), because I’ve been focused on my day job, and writing in order to publish, not perish.
So, Halloween has just passed–a time I really enjoy, but which remains somewhat controversial in Australia.
One of the things that annoys me most is the annual whinge on Facebook about how “American” it all is.
It is true that the popularisation of Halloween trick or treating has largely made its way to our Southern shores courtesy of American television and movies. It is patently not true that Americans invented Halloween itself. Nor is it accurate to say that Halloween didn’t exist in Australia until very recently. Trick or treating was not a thing; true. But All Souls’ Day (or All Hallows’ Eve) has always been a Holy Day of Obligation in the Catholic church, as is the following day, All Saints’ Day. Growing up, our priest was quite insistent that we were expected to attend Mass at least three times in that particular week, so it’s not the kind of thing I’d forget.
I also love to point out the Holy Day of Obligation thing to people who think that Halloween is somehow Satanic. It’s a better argument for that particular audience than my all time favourite one, which comes from Buffy, the Vampire Slayer. In that particular strain of pop culture lore, Halloween is actually the least scary day of the year, since the in-story “real” supernatural beings find the human performativity of spookiness so very cliche as to render the day “like, dead, for the undead;” a potential night off for vamps and slayers alike.
Samhain, the pagan version of what would become Halloween, is actually of Celtic origin. Turnips were carved in the shape of a face, and lit from within, to attract Jack, a will’o the wisp now better known as Jack o’ the Lantern for reasons that will soon become apparent; a disembodied soul who roamed looking for a new body each year. He did this on the day when the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead was thinnest (observed on October 31). Jack got fooled into going into the lanterns rather than humans or their homes. Kids wore disguises to discombobulate him further.
When folks moved to the American colonies, they switched to pumpkins which were more plentiful and a lot easier to carve.
So it ain’t an American idea. And I also wonder why, on this one day of the year, it’s suddenly acceptable to throw around “American” as an insult. “Oh, it’s so American” folks sneer, as they hop in their Ford to do a Maccas run, before settling in to binge-watch Netflix for the evening.
The other Facebook cohort who get under my skin are the people who ask which day they should go trick or treating. (I am, for now, going to ignore the “trickatreat” crowd–yes, people actually spell it like that–and the fact that practically nobody seems to understand that “trick or treat?” is an actual question with a couple of possible answers). Halloween is like Christmas, folks; it is not a moveable feast. If you decide to celebrate on another day because it’s more convenient for your family, you can’t reasonably expect other families to know that you made that call.
All that aside, I love the idea of the thin veil; of our loved ones being close(r) at hand. I find it a loving, comforting concept, rather than a scary one. Maybe we can blame my time in Japan where there was an altar to deceased family members, and we left offerings like mandarins in Summer when families went back to their hometowns to visit. When I explained it to my Australian Mum, she said it sounded kind of like Santa, but with relatives you missed.
And what’s not to love about that?
At this time of year, I am occasionally contacted by people looking at running a “Halloween story” and this year, I heard from Virginie Nussbaum at the Swiss newspaper, Le Temps.
You can find that article here, but it is behind a paywall. I don’t read French, but with the help of Google Translate I could get the gist of it! Here’s the cover image and the title: “The werewolf, this Other who haunts our nightmares.”
So, I’ve been pretty stressed over the AWOL passport. The process has been ulcer-inducing from the very beginning, when I was told that my birth certificate was the wrong size, through the interminable wait to now–when the universe had one last surprise to make sure the process was consistently stressful, right to the end.
For the record, it took around 14 weeks and countless packets of QuikEze.
A couple of weeks ago, I sent a complaint to the APO’s feedback email address. They never responded. But the following day, I forwarded it to the staffer from my local MP’s parliamentary office who’d been quite responsive, and sent him a FYI: here’s where it’s at.
The next day, I had a call from someone in the MP’s local office, who told me that the MP was very determined to help, and had interceded with the Minister. She further told me that despite the website never updating or progressing in terms of the passport’s status, that it had been approved. She then warned me it could still take a while to get through the printing queue and mailing and it could be another two weeks.
That night, I was at a function with said local Member, where I personally thanked her for being the Passport Fairy. “Oh,” she said “I’ve been the passport fairy a lot this week. I just don’t understand why people wait until two days before they’re leaving to contact us.” And so it was that I got to tell her about the new advice on the APO website which says, don’t call your local Member, it’ll just drag staff off processing and won’t make things faster. But let me tell you, Dear Reader, in my experience it’s the only thing that makes things go faster.
On Thursday of last week, I got a follow-up call from a caseworker at the APO, who reiterated that it was in the printing queue in Melbourne. “It takes about ten days to get through printing,” he told me, as my heart sank. Then he added “but it’s already been there about nine.”
He then told me that he was going on leave for the next three days, but would be sure to check when he got back on Wednesday of this week. My grandfather used to have a saying that ran through my head at that exact moment: “I’d rather believe you than look for the truth.”
On Wednesday, we had to get up at 3.30am to take Tony to a very inconveniently-timed medical appointment in Wollongong. I spent four pre-breakfast hours in the waiting room and when he was returned to me at the end of the procedure, he announced: “It was a general anaesthetic! It was like it was only a few minutes!”
“It was a lot longer than that,” I told him. “You were in there so long, I got a passport.Well, sort of.”
Both the email and the text to say printing was finished and the passport was with Australia Post came through while I had been sitting there, cooling my heels. Tracking was not activated until Wednesday night, when suddenly the passport appeared to be in Strathfield. No mention of Melbourne.
Thursday morning I was in a Zoom meeting when my phone went off, with a Canberra number. It was the APO caseworker, back from leave and calling to check I’d received tracking. “Last I checked it was in Strathfield,” I told him, “but it’s been a busy morning so I haven’t been able to keep an eye on it.”
“It’s still in Strathfield,” he told me.
Until about 6am this morning. When it suddenly showed as having made it to the Nowra Distribution Centre. The passport and I were in the same postcode.
This morning as my husband was leaving I ran in, waving the phone excitedly. “It’s out for delivery.”
That was at 7.09am.
I promptly reorganised my day to work from home. No way I was letting this thing sit in the Cambewarra Post Office all weekend; I was going to be here to welcome it home.
I was a bit distracted all morning; one ear out the whole time, not game to run and put a load of washing on between work tasks. And then at 11am I checked my phone and it said the passport had been delivered.
Where? I thought. I’ve been sitting here this whole time, at a desk strategically positioned to be able to see anyone pulling into the driveway. Answer: Cambewarra Post Office. At 7.59am. Processed and ready to be picked up at 8.02am, not that I had received any notification to that effect. Still haven’t, come to think of it.
So off to the next suburb I hared.
Initially, the lady struggled to find it. I could hear her rummaging and I was trying to recalibrate my expectations and figure out next steps. And then she appeared, with a way-too-small-for-the-stress-it-has-caused envelope.
“I’ve been waiting nearly four months for this,” I told her, as she saw a range of reactions flash across my face.
She was incredibly empathetic.
Turns out, she’d applied in April, and hers had taken four months, too.
Passport Update: 10.5 weeks’ wait; still no progress.
I contacted my local MP and got a very prompt reply from her team, who in turn contacted the APO, who sent me a generic reply that included the line (I kid you not): We apologise for the delay you have experienced waiting for your passport to issue OR difficulty you have experienced in contacting our passports team.
I mean, at least delete the option that’s not relevant if you want us to believe you’ve even read the message to which you’re allegedly responding, guys.
They sign off by promising “we endeavour to have your passport ready so that you an travel.”
Again: Aim High, Team.
Can you imagine if we here just “endeavoured” to deliver education courses? I don’t think “there’s a high demand for our services right now” (an actual line from my September 15 “response,” as opposed to the September 30 one, above) … would cut it as an excuse in *our* federally funded government department, but OK.
Anyhow, those annoyances aside:
It’s that time of the year when the Spousal Unit is on holidays and I’m not, and it’s a busy time at work, and when you add personal stresses like AWOL passports to the mix, things like brains start to malfunction a bit and then you do things like forgetting the password to your entire work network that you use a million times a day and knew perfectly well at the start of the weekend … but I digress.
So the Spousal Unit and I have been trying to retain the last remaining threads of my sanity by doing some projects around the house (yes, I know), and also having him join me for part of a work trip to Batemans Bay. I might leave that story for another day, because I’m still processing it. I think if he hadn’t been there at the time I might have convinced myself by now that it was all a particularly surreal dream.
So we’ve been digging up very overgrown front garden with a view to planting some things we actually like and that aren’t taller than us. The process has been like stumbling upon lost civilisations in the jungle, with pots and garden statues appearing that we’d forgotten we’d ever owned. And my poor crabapple tree, which has been struggling since I planted it a year ago, suddenly has leaves on it. Turns out a bit of sunlight works wonders for photosynthesis.
But because the East Coast of Australia is semi-permanently under water these days, progress has been slow. So Him Indoors turned his hand to an indoor project–cleaning the tank of our last remaining fish, Mulder. This was prompted by the pump in the tank apparently giving up the proverbial ghost.
So off to the pet store he went, where the young salesperson told him that his pump was an old pump type and even though it wouldn’t fit his aquaculture tank, it was his best option. So he came home and set everything up.
The next morning, Mulder had swum off the mortal coil. Belly up, eyes shut, unequivocal. I also noticed that the brand new pump wasn’t working. He dealt with Mulder, I puzzled over the poor quality pump. And put my hand in the water. Which was warm. And gave me a small electric shock.
“Are you sure this is meant to go in the water?” I asked.
“Where else would it go?” came the reply.
So I asked were there any instructions. Of course, he replied, looking offended, and handing them to me. I looked at the diagram, then back at the pump. “There seem to be bits missing,” I said. He promptly produced them with a flourish, from the same place where the instructions had been. He’d cut one cord to shorten it, and not used another bit, or the air bubble. OK, I thought, there goes any chance of a refund. Then, I realised we’d had a pump just like to aerate our outside pond. It did not get submerged. My poor brain was trying to piece these bits together, but it wasn’t until I looked at the diagrams that it all came together in, ahem, a flash.
The diagrams where the pump was sitting on furniture next to the fish tank.
I read on.
“This says,” I said slowly, “to discontinue use if the pump gets at all wet.”
That night, he told me he felt really bad about accidentally electrocuting his fish. “And nearly electrocuting you,” he added, as an afterthought. “That could have been bad.”
The original pump is repaired now. We’re waiting a few days before getting new fish.
This WordPress Wednesday (she writes, as though she were still doing this weekly) comes to you from regional Victoria, where I’m once again ensconced in the spare bedroom. Most days the soundtrack to our mornings has included the detonation of devices at the nearby Army base, which is arguably still better than the muffled loudspeaker noises which my Wollongong-based colleagues are enduring in light of the UCI event.
Personally, I think UCI sounds like a medical complaint and have been referring to it as “the stupid [expletive-deleted] bike race,” like many people I know. It may do well in terms of getting Wollongong an international profile as intended–that remains to be seen–but my goodness, it’s inconvenienced a lot of locals in the process.
Speaking of deleted expletives, I’m starting to think that the F in DFAT doesn’t stand for Foreign, after all.
Australian passports are supposed to be processed and returned within about six weeks, but I’ve had a few in my time and I don’t recall it ever taking more than two. Enter COVID. Now, way more people than usual are applying all at once and the system is failing. Spectacularly.
I had my interview at the post office and handed in my paperwork on July 25. For those playing along at home, that is 8.5 weeks ago. It is still showing as “Under Assessment.” One wonders what could possibly take so long to be assessed, given that it’s a renewal and literally nothing has changed since last time.
Putting the rotten thing in was stressful enough in itself. The local PO guy–the PO is under new ownership–had taken the photos for us, after first telling my husband he couldn’t take his photos because he didn’t know the dimensions for a British passport. Again, we’ve had a lot of passports at our advanced ages, and it’s never been an issue. But the Spousal Unit went away, googled, and then returned to offer proof onscreen of what we already knew ie that they are the same size.
Then I rocked up for my booked interview and I was told that my original birth certificate was no good because it was foolscap and his printer wouldn’t scan it. I did point out that a great many Australians were born in the foolscap era, but to no avail. Apparently I should have somehow known that that particular post office had a printer/scanner that frankly, isn’t fit for purpose for most of us–Gen X and the Baby Boomers are all likely to have inconveniently sized paperwork. So I drove home and found the A4 version I’d paid to have reissued a few years back when I momentarily couldn’t find the original and panic-bought a replacement, and then I hightailed it back within the original booked timeframe. PO guy was most impressed that I had a differently sized version, and no wonder–most people wouldn’t.
Then he told me that he couldn’t accept my photographs. The ones he’d taken. He told me I shouldn’t have had my referee write on them the exact sentence that the passport office says to write on them–he needed an unmarked one. He kept repeating this with increased agitation, even as I kept pointing to the remaining photos, because you get SIX in a batch. Eventually, I got through to him that if he wanted an untouched photo, they were lying right in front of him. I’m not sure why I was the calm one when I’m the traveler and the one with diagnosed anxiety, and he was merely the guy doing the processing. “But they’re not cut,” he said. So I asked to borrow his scissors and hey, presto–virgin passport photo for the application.
So you can see why the delay in processing might be making nervous.
He then used those same scissors to cut through my previous, unexpired passport, meaning I’m now without one altogether. I still had eight months on the old one, which I also wasn’t able to use for more than two years because of the pandemic. A ten year passport is just not looking like good value for money right now.
The APO has confirmed by email that they have the application in the system and everything is there. So I do have that in writing. What I don’t have is evidence of any progress. At all. And I’m wondering how or when to try to escalate this, because honestly, with family overseas, I don’t like to be without a passport for any period of time. And I don’t see why I should be, given that I took steps to make sure it was renewed in plenty of time.
Meanwhile Mr-I-Never-Got-Around-to-Doing-my-Australian-Citizenship-Stuff got his British passport back in under two weeks. From the UK.
We have flights booked in eight weeks–heading for a brief beach break with my faux-niblings and -sister, under whose roof I’m currently lodged. Unfortunately, I have no confidence that things will be sorted out by then. According to the FB page for folks like me, the backlog seems to be being cleared for those who’ve submitted recently. But for those of us who submitted April-July–lining up in the nearest Passport Office within three days of your flight seems to work, sometimes. Not always. And my nearest Passport Office is quite a long way from the South Coast.
Back when I was enthusiastic about travel and believed in things like passports being processed, we booked accommodation for our big trip UpOver for the baseball and family Disney shenanigans. It’s hard to be excited, though, under the circumstances. Booking flights and sorting visas is significantly harder without a passport, so planning for that adventure is currently on hold.
Between now and the totally-booked-and-paid-for-holiday-I-can’t-get-to-without-a-passport in November, there is a mountain of work to be done, including landing a strategic framework. Landing a strategic framework also involves significant consultation around a recently redrafted position paper, itself a substantial piece of work. But I just watched my mate submit a full draft of her thesis (the reason I came down to distract the adolescents this week), and my co-editors and I sent The Vampire Diaries manuscript off last week. So sometimes these big milestones get met.
For now, it’s time for our leaving-night tradition (superstition?) of KFC before I make the long drive back tomorrow.
Have you been impacted by the great Australian Passport Debacle of 2022? Let me know if you have any tips on how to expedite the accursed process!
This morning I received an email asking if I knew how to find one Dr Roslyn Weaver. Well, yes, as a matter of fact; I’d just been chatting with her over Messenger a few hours earlier. Oh yes, and I saw her a bit over a week ago, right before she went on her honeymoon and then moved to the UK (again–she moved there several years ago, and then to Canada, but now she’s back in England with her freshly minted husband, who resides there). And so we’re back to the future, still on different continents and in different time zones, but it’s somehow also very familiar.
The author of the email is trying to get in touch with Ros to send a copy of a publication that in her words, has been a long time in the making. This was also apropos because we’d been commiserating over publications that have disappeared into thin air once all the work was done. Notably we once both wrote chapters for an edited collection on Glee that has never seen the light of day and now, twelve years in, we figure the content is pretty well out of date!
But, just 24 hours before the aforementioned email, I received another one, saying that a co-edited collection on which I’ve been working has passed peer review.
My chapter within it was first written nine years ago. Then in 2019 one of the other contributors reached out to ask if the publication had ever happened, and after some sleuthing and checking that the original publisher was no longer interested in the long (un)dead project, we decided to take it on ourselves.
And so, just like that, I go from not having any research projects on the go, to really needing to prioritise reading and acting on the feedback and getting it back to the publisher in as timely a manner as is humanly possible.
To add to the timeline crunch, we have another (our last!) SAL period coming up and I’ve also been asked to “reduce my leave liability,” which means effectively heading to regional Victoria in a few weeks to hang out with one of my favourite adopted siblings and my faux-niblings, only this time I won’t have to log on remotely and work while I’m there.
And I also decided to take a small step towards something we’ve been planning since April of 2021. For the first time in my life, I’ve worked somewhere long enough (and not as a casual!) to qualify for Long Service Leave. I’d pretty much ignored that milestone for a couple of years, because COVID hasn’t been conducive to travel and we had our bonus unpaid three weeks each year to use up as well as annual leave. But, luck permitting, next Easter we will head Up Over for what I am officially calling baseball leave.
Apparently it will be a new manager at the helm after the canning of Joe Madden overnight. It was only a matter of hours between me putting in the paperwork and his shock dismissal.
All I can think is, my boys Jared Walsh, Shoei Ohtani and Raisel Iglesias had better still be there in Season 2023.
Our SAL (Special Additional Leave) block overlapped with the NSW school holidays this year, so those of us still actively affiliated with the Uni (one as a student, one as staff) tacked on an extra couple of days in order to facilitate a border-crossing adventure.
Now, before you get too excited, it was just a domestic/internal border, but even that has been a challenge for the last couple of years.
So when we were trying to figure out the best way to get to Queensland to see my in-laws, and to celebrate our son’s 21st the same week, he came up with a solution: we’d all go to the Sunshine Coast to visit Nanna and Grandpa, and then we’d stop by Movie World on the way home to mark his milestone birthday.
Ever optimistic, we also planned a couple of fun stops on the way home, including a visit with my Aunt and Uncle and going to see The Phantom of the Opera on Sydney Harbour.
Just before all that kicked off, though, I spent my Saturday in Batemans Bay with our team at the launch of the Wattle Walk, a community art project to mark the beginnings of bushfire recovery; which has somewhat ironically been been delayed by another large scale disaster, Covid.
So on the Friday I went to the launch of the Southern Shoalhaven Country University Centre in Ulladulla, then headed to the bay to help plant 7000 woolen wattle branches, and then finally we headed North.
The Wattle Walk was a big hit locally. We ran craft workshops on Saturday, and were pleasantly surprised at how many people came out, despite the ongoing rainy weather we’ve been experiencing. The installation was actually extended by a week at the request of the Eurobodalla Regional Botanic Garden, who were finding they were getting lots of new visitors and lots of positive feedback.
Heading North was a bit of an old-school road trip, with two “kids” in the back, ie my son and his partner. My daughter and her partner joined us at the Sunshine Coast. We had a nice little reunion with The Scottish Grandparents, but unfortunately Nanna was carrying the coronavirus and was not yet aware. We had the most amazing accommodation at Twin Waters, with plenty of rooms and living areas, including a great covered area on the ground floor where we could host the mobility-challenged for our Good Friday lunch.
The resort pool was slightly warmer than the unit’s one, and also boasted a lovely view of one of the eponymous Twin Waters.
Blissfully unaware of the virus hiding in plain sight, we enjoyed the random Good Friday fireworks (theologically speaking, that’s not a day of celebration, organisers!) and the Easter bunny arrived with chocolates and dorky pyjamas for all.
Easter Sunday was largely spent in a car, most of us contorted with knees around ears in order to accommodate 6 people and luggage, after several iterations of the travel plan were changed and/or abandoned.
Our Gold Coast accommodation was laid out like a rabbit warren, which fitted our pjyama theme, and quite dirty, which was horrifying. But hey, it had lovely views, so I guess they catch a lot of people once. I actually wrote a review to this effect, but it seems to have mysteriously disappeared from the website. Go figure.
Rob had a pre-birthday dinner and cake to accommodate his sister’s flight on the evening of his actual birthday, which we topped off with a visit to Holey Moley.
We headed to Movie World as planned, and discovered that while the number of visitors was back to pre-pandemic levels, the number of operational rides and the staff on deck probably weren’t. Tony and I went into the 4D theatre and had lunch, and spent the rest of the day sitting on a park bench. The young people were in queues from park open to park close, and made it onto two rides.
By this time, however, Tony was starting to feel very ordinary indeed, so it was possibly a good time to be sitting quietly by ourselves.
Right after we arrived in Coffs Harbour–meant to be Step 1 of our leisurely journey home–Tony got a positive Covid result, joining his parents, 13 others on his mum’s ward, and his sister among those who’d got an unwanted Easter bonus. Our daughter and her partner would soon join those ranks.
So long story short, it was a long and unexciting trip home, after dismantling and cancelling all the fun activities. Followed by disinfecting every surface in the car (twice!) and a week of offering room service to the patient, who was confined to his bedroom.
The return to working on campus was equally eventful. Day 1 was setting up for Shoalhaven Graduation, Day 2 was Shoalhaven Graduation, and Day 4 involved traveling to Wollongong for the first on-campus and in-person graduation in over two years, where the student I supervised was awarded her PhD.
So here we go: two weeks in a row. It’s a new record.
Well not really, but it sure feels like it.
There was a time when I had WordPress Wednesday in my calendar and it was sacrosanct. Now, it’s in there but I move it around other things and sometimes to other days and then it gets to the end of the week and I just delete it rather than have it taunt me. Et voila, that’s how we get to the end of March with nary a post.
Now, I know that I do better when I have a morning routine, and morning pages, and daily exercise, and a sleep routine. I have even read evidence to back it up, and I’ve blogged about it. And yet somehow I have once again slipped out of my good habits. Part of it is to do with my battered old body, which gets very grumpy in multiple joints when I go for a walk or other exercise–my Physiotherapist will be able to put her kids through expensive private schools for life, if she so chooses. Part of it is the appalling weather–flooding rains are not conducive to morning strolls–and part of it is just trying to get back into a going-to-work routine after a working-from-home routine for so long.
So: baby steps. I’ve done the morning page two days running. I’ve done WordPress Wednesday two weeks running. I’m trying to use the email answering half hour at the start of each day and the setting up half hour at the end of each day exactly as they are intended. And I’ve tried to follow Kristina Karlsson’s idea of reviewing the quarter and planning for the next one, albeit somewhat half-heartedly, since she advises thinking about your dreams and I was focused on work goals because the “dream” list was at home and I was in the office.
Like I said, baby steps. Faltering ones, from someone with a dodgy neck, hip and knee (at last count!).
Bless me, Reader, for I have sinned. It has been several months since my last “weekly” blog post.
In that time the world has gone to Hell in a handbasket, with continued COVID outbreaks, a war in Ukraine, floods, the Chris Rock/Will Smith saga, and Married at First Sight.
There’s been some pretty cool stuff, too. With restrictions easing, UOW’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Trish Davidson, was able to come and visit all our campuses, including presiding over graduations in Batemans Bay and Bega. I believe it’s the first time a Vice Chancellor has come to a Bega or Batemans Bay grad. My brand new boss also visited, making it to Shoalhaven campus in his first week on the job, and the others soon after. This feels like a recognition of the importance of the less well-known campuses, and has really buoyed spirits.
I was invited to sit in on a HDR review panel, which necessitated delving into the world of Outlander, which I’d been avoiding out of fear of how long the books are. It’s an adaptation project to boot, so the Spousal Unit and I started watching the telly version together. It’s not bad, and it’s caused some very amusing moments where he (born in Scotland) has turned to me (Scottish by heritage, but never set foot in the place) to ask questions about things like the finer points of the battle of Culloden.
I once again attempted to attend the Long Wet Autumn-ish Long Hot Summer Tour, this time in Berry, and we were once again absolutely drenched. That’s the third time, in three different locations and in three different months. We even thought about purchasing tickets to the Kiama version this weekend, but since most of NSW is currently building arks, have held off.
As for me, I’m currently in regional Victoria where there’s not a cloud in the sky, working remotely and being an extra adult family member for a little bit. This has some pretty big advantages–four feline ones, for starters.
So yes: doing OK. And hoping to get back into a good blogging routine … after all, it is almost April!
A local perspective on the inherent ableism of NSW’s current policy settings with regard to COVID. Shawn, Gina, Mac and their extended family are friends of mine, and live in the next suburb over, so this is very close to home.
Here’s why we are so scared for Mac and why we are desperate not to be caught in the ‘let it rip’ tide of COVID that’s hit NSW and Australia.
Thanks to vaccination, we are now less worried about the disease than we are about the potential treatment and/or lack of it he would receive in an overwhelmed hospital and health system as a very young adult with severe disability. Mac, Gina, and I are triple-vaccinated and we have done everything possible to follow the health guidance of the likes of Dr Kerry Chant for two years. We have been significantly isolating for the entire time. Even when I returned to face-to-face teaching for a brief time at the start of last year, we did it without fully embracing the ‘return to normal’ we were encouraged to do. As those who know Mac know, he does not talk or walk…