Remember how we all couldn’t wait for 2020, because the end of 2019 was so horrifically awful? Yeah.
So about three weeks ago, I took out my trusty chainsaw and set to work on the dead tree in the front yard that had fallen over when we had the flooding that followed the fires. (Yes, for those playing along at home: we’ve had fire, flood and plague. Pestilence should be along any minute now).
A few weeks prior to that, Groundskeeper Troy had told me that he is very insistent on his younger relatives wearing full protective gear when using chainsaw, because he’s seen the injuries. I don’t own much in the way of protective gear. Gloves. I wear gloves. And my usual eye glasses.
So to be fair, I had actually put the chainsaw down safely, when I had the brilliant idea to stomp on a long tree branch and break it in half. Which worked. But then the tree fought back, and flung upwards at a great rate of knots, tearing a cross shaped fairly deep cut in the bridge of my nose.
So I staggered inside, bleeding from the face, shocked eyes above the profusely bleeding wound, to where my husband was relaxing. And all I could think was, “Troy warned me about this!” It’s the chainsaw equivalent of, “Oh No! I had shot my eye out!”
Turning up at work the following Monday was pretty embarrassing. As he peered at my nose, Troy suddenly grinned and asked, “Do you reckon you’re the only member of the leadership team with an injury from chainsawing right now?”
The following week I went to a meeting of the leadership team, and I did indeed appear to be the only one with an injury to my face from clearing timber at home. The joys of regionality.
The regional areas in which our campuses are located are only just starting to think about the rebuild process, which is one step before the recovery process, after the fires. And now we have a virus with which to contend, too. People are already stressed and anxious, so there’s catastrophising happening, and it’s making tempers short. Like the rest of Australia, we’ve had our grocery store times truncated and deliveries suspended. And each day we are dealing with new movement, travel, and gathering restrictions. But as yet, no really big calls have been made. Schools remain open. Universities, including ours, haven’t been told to close, but are moving to online delivery post-haste. We did have to indefinitely postpone Graduation. This morning the PM gave us all a dressing down, giving us a classic daggy Dad bollocking regarding hoarding: “Stop it. Just stop it.” I half expected him to threaten to pull over the car.
In the midst of dealing with crises, mostly real but a few imaginary, I’ve also been volunteering behind the scenes organising a major community event for the NSW Cancer Council. To the surprise of no one, it obviously can’t go ahead as planned in a couple of weeks.
Imagine trying to juggle a conference call with other volunteers, and an update on a local campus from the security firm, simultaneously. Or distressed staff members and a message from your kidult saying they have flu-like symptoms and asking what to do, all in one day.
That’s where we’re at. The tree was easier to deal with.
Still, things could be worse. I have toilet paper, and I have hand sanitiser, which arrived by post yesterday and shall be treated like liquid gold. My nose has healed up nicely, but the scar might be permanent. And so we keep on keeping on.