Sunday, November 21, 2021

Two lasts last, too

At 11:59pm this past Tuesday, November 16, the parts of the Waikato at Alert Level 3, Step 2 moved back to Level 2, the relatively free Alert Level that the rest of New Zealand (apart from Auckland) was at. It turned out that on that day, before the Alert Level change happened, I did one of the things that was stopped when we went under Lockdown back in August, and that, in turn, sets the stage for resuming what had been stopped by Lockdowns, my biggest-ever project, the garage.

The news that Hamilton was changing Alert Levels came at the 4pm news conference on Monday, and the next morning I rang the moving company to see about having them collect the last of their boxes. It was something I planned on doing in August, just before Lockdown.

In a lengthy post on August 14, I said near the end, “I plan on ringing the movers next week to pick up the boxes, and if they won’t, I’ll take them to be recycled.” I had a dental hygienist appointment later that week, so I decided to ring on that day to make sure there was no conflict with the appointment: The last time boxes were collected—almost exactly a year earlier—I got about 20 minutes warning they were on the way. I never got the chance to do that.

I could’ve arranged to have them collected during the 26 days Hamilton was at Level 2 (between September 7 and October 3), but I didn’t get to it for a lot of reasons. Once we went back under Level 3, I considered taking them to the tip for recycling (which I could apparently do). One of the issues was that some of the boxes were quite large (which is why I came up with a universal way to calculate the volume of stuff I was unpacking: The number of boxes alone didn’t say much when some were very large and others tiny). Still, I would’ve managed—but I couldn’t be bothered with it.

So it was that on this past Tuesday morning I was on the phone, speaking with a very friendly person at NZ Movers, and she said she’d pass it on to the Hamilton crew, and they’d contact me. I knew that the company doesn’t have an office here, but has some sort of depot, which isn’t publicly listed. The friendly staffer told me it might be a couple weeks before they could collect them.

The next morning, I got a call a little after 9am asking if they could swing by to pick up the boxes—you can see this coming—about 20 minutes later. I opened the overhead garage door and pulled the boxes outside into the bright, sunny day (photo up top). All the boxes were already at the front, where I’d neatly put them before the August Lockdown (and later rearranged a bit), so this was much easier to do than the collection back in 2020.

The friendly 2-person crew arrived, loaded up the boxes and left. The months-long wait was all over by quarter to ten at the latest, and I had a little more room in my garage.

“Little” is kind of the operative word here. I was thinking there were a lot more boxes, partly because I’d kinda forgotten that some boxes were “counted” as two or even three boxes when I was calculating the volume I’d unpacked. But the bigger issue was actually that it had been so long by that point—some three months—I simply forgot how much was there. Also, I learned that boxes standing up against a wall slouch and take up more room than they should—especially when they’re in the bloody way.

Now that they’re out of the way, I can do what I also said I’d do in that innocent (but long) post a few days before the Lockdown was announced: “Once I get [the boxes] out of the way I can move the scrap metal stuff to the front of the garage.” That’s the last stalled thing to be done, but it’s at least possible now.

When I shared the photo up top on social media, I joked that I can start working on the garage project again “just in time for hot summer temperatures! Oh well, maybe a sauna will be a good way to lose those Lockdown Kilos.” One can always hope.

There's on other "last" think I still need to do: Get a post-Lockdown haircut. I decided I’d wait because I guessed—correctly, it turned out—that there’d be a long queue of men waiting to get into the barbershop. I planned to go this coming week—finally!

I’d planned to get one on August 17, right after I got my second Covid jab, even though it was only beginning to get to the point I’d need one. However, on the way to that I heard on the radio that the Delta Variant had appeared in Auckland, and I knew what was coming. It kind of knocked the wind out of me.

When we first went to Level 2 on September 7, I did the same thing as now: I planned on waiting until the following week to allow the mobs to clear. But then I got busy and just didn’t get there before we went back under Level 3—and by then I did need a haircut.

So, I did what lots of other folks did during Lockdowns: I took the clippers and attempted to tidy up my own hair. It turned out, it’s hard to turn my back to the wall mirror and use a hand-held mirror to try to get the clippers in the right position and angle. It was so difficult that I only tidied things up a little, mainly along my collar (which was bothering me).

This means I’m now back to roughly where I was the last time we went to Level 2—and I hope that’s not some sort of omen, though I doubt it is. But, worse case scenario, if we do suddenly have tightened rules before I can get my haircut, I’ll almost certainly ignore the rules and have a relative cut my hair—pretty much like anyone else would do now, except we’re all fully-vaccinated, unlike the people who got us into this mess over the past few months.

Now that the boxes are gone, I can get back onto my garage project (possibly only in the mornings…), and get my hair cut. All of that will put me pretty much back to where I was before Lockdown in August. Hopefully, this time it’ll be nothing but moves forward, and not stalling again. This time, I hope it lasts.

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