Sunday Diary

I reckon our age care system here in Australia in a lot of cases seems to be quite good. So when we desperately need more  constant care subsidised, we can probably get it. At the moment I am just happy that Peter and I can both stay at home, even though we are not entitled yet to ’emergency’ home help.

Staying at home there are so many things that we can still enjoy: Music, reading, writing, playing games, watching TV! Also, we try to stay active as much as possible. Looking after personal hygiene, walking in the open air, shopping for essentials, doing the most necessary housework and gardening. But it usually does not take long and we are so exhausted that we need a rest. This means each day we can do only a very limited amount of work. That means, every day we have to cut back on something that we would have liked to have done. If we decide to do something, something else that might be just as important, cannot be done that day. Every day we seem to have a bit less time. How is that possible? The question is, what is really most important to us to be able to do?

Last weekend we had quite a few visitors because it was Peter’s birthday. The visitors came in stages: First two visitors for lunch. Later on when the first visitors had left, five adults and two children arrived for evening celebrations when it was already dark, and we had to stay inside. (Otherwise we could have spent time in our backyard where there is a bit more room and fresh air!)

Off and on Peter experienced some bad pain and had to lie down for a while until he could join the visitors again. Peter feels his pain is manageable when he can have a rest as soon as there is some pain coming. Most visitors came on Saturday, the 16th. The following day, on Sunday, we had two more visitors in the afternoon just for coffee/tea and cake. All our visitors were family members. Some of them we had not seen for quite a while. Because of the Coronavirus restrictions we took care not to hug anyone, and we also tried to keep some distance at all times. This is definitely rather difficult. I am sure, everyone in this kind of situation would have the same feelings how difficult it is.

I cannot believe one week has gone already after this rather hectic weekend of Peter’s birthday. In the meantime we found out our very old car is leaking some oil. We have to decide now whether it is worth it to get a major repair done to this 16 year old car! We can only hope that the car does not need a major repair. Last Thursday Peter booked the car in for its regular service. The booking is for Monday. So probably tomorrow we’ll  find out what can be done to the oil leak.

Diary for Thursday and Friday

Corona crisis: How are pandemics, environmental degradation and climate change related?

This subject how environmental degradation and climate change can have something to do with pandemics interests me very much. I looked up two apparently very knowledgeable people on this subject. While referring to these people in my previous post, I am looking forward trying to check out what they may have to say in future on this subject!

Yesterday, on Friday, the 22nd of May, Peter was contacted by the doctors at the hospital. They wanted to know, whether he was still alright. It was just a phone consultation, but Dr. Nasser asked Peter whether he could come to the hospital for a consultation in three months time, and Peter said yes. So an appointment was made for a Friday in August.

A couple of days ago, on Thursday, we had an outing to Warrawong. After not having been there for a few months, I was quite thrilled to see a shopping centre full of people. But I was absolutely careful not to come too close to anyone. There were ten seatings available at the Emporium Cafe. We were lucky that two seats became available when we arrived at the cafe for a bit of lunch. We were offered the two vacant seats at two tables that were pushed together. Peter sat at one end, I did sit at the other end well away from Peter! We had flat white coffees (oh, what a treat after not having coffees like this for so many months!) I could only eat half of my delicious vegetarian pizza, but I was allowed to take the rest home.

Peter made an appointment to take our car to Warrawong for a service this coming Monday. The car is losing some oil. So first of all the car gets the regular service on Monday, and then Peter expects to be told what can be done about the oil leak! Peter is kind of expecting he may have to take the car to Warrawong very soon again then for a hopefully not too major a repair. The oil leak is really a bit worrying at the moment, even though it looks like we are losing only a little bit of oil. But of course it has to be checked.

 

Referring to some Observations in the recent Uta Diaries

I started yesterday morning with looking at some of my drafts and I decided it was about time that I should get rid of all the drafts that I did not need anymore. The first draft I looked at I wanted to publish rather than seeing it ending in ‘trash’. I love Di Morrissey’s books and am very impressed that she is able to write a comprehensive well researched novel every year. She wrote already 27 novels. I believe most of these are bestsellers. Here is what I found in Wikipedia:

“Di Morrissey AM is one of the most successful novelists of Australia with 27 best-selling novels and five children’s books published. Wikipedia

Here you can find out more:  http://dimorrissey.com.au/about-di/

 

 

And I referred to this video in yesterday’s diary:

“Jennifer Byrne presents an interview with Bryce Courtenay, Lee Child, Di Morrissey, and Matthew Riley.”

 

I always liked to watch and listen to the Jennifer Byrne interviews. Bryce Courtnenay’s books I used to be very familiar with over many years. I still own some of his books. Wouldn’t I like to read again and again these books: Maybe, maybe one of these days when due to the Coronavirus I am going to have lots of spare time, I am going to read, read, read!

Further on yesterday I published this item about how migrant workers had to clean up university students’ mess. So what I had observed about the life of cleaners during my long life, this is what I really had wanted to write about.

In my following diary posts I mentioned about the help that my family used to be able to afford. Some people were actually honorary helpers, like Tante Mietze who for many years lived with Peter’s family and tirelessly did all sorts of work for the family right into very old age. She was a real jewel and all the family still hold her in high esteem many years after her death.

I guess that most people cannot afford hired help any more these days, is partly because cleaners and all sorts of workers can these days demand higher wages. If for instance people employ migrant workers and try to underpay them, it is said they are being used as ‘slave’ labour.

I always had this opinion when in a family with several children both father and mother have outside well paying jobs, the wife’s salary should in the first place be used to employ some home help. Why else would a woman want to have an outside job if it did not pay enough for some home help? Now, I would very much like my readers’ thoughts on this. Please, do not hesitate to make a comment, when you do not agree with my opinion on this.

Another topic would be how do families cope these days with separation or divorce of parents, and how do wives fare then if they do not have a well paying job.

Uta’s Diary continued

I am still on the subject of cleaning and home help. This morning I mentioned in my diary how Peter’s mother and my mother managed in old age.  This is what I wrote:

Both Peter’s father as well as my father did not live to a very old age. So age care was not an issue. Both our mothers though did live into their eighties. How were they cared for? Well, my mother paid her granddaughter to come in on a regular basis and do some work for her, and Peter’s mother paid one of her daughters to do some work for her. Both mothers lived in a very small apartment when they were at an advanced age.

Peter’s mother was actually towards the end of her life in a care home. She had one room in that place. She did not like to eat anything except for cake. I think she was 87 when she died.  My mum ended up in a hospital after a severe stroke when she was ‘only’ 83 and she very soon passed away then.

Peter’s mother trained to work as a child carer after leaving school early. Probably when she was only 14. But soon after her training she joined the postal service, where she retired from with an adequate pension after 40 years service. Since she had three children, she was lucky that her aunt, Tante Mietze,  offered to stay with the family. So there was always somebody there for the children when Peter’s parents were out working. Peter says, his father would have preferred his wife staying home and not going out to work. But since Peter’s parents separated and divorced after the war, the mother was only too glad that she had never given up her job and that she still had Tante Mietze to look after the family.

My mum had in the 1930s and until the end of the war in 1945 always some live-in home help. The home help was called ‘Dienstmädchen’. These girls were rather young when they were employed. During the war we had Maria, who was Polish from the city of Lodz. Before the war we had every year another girl, all of them German girls from the country. I think I wrote a lot about Maria in my ‘Childhood Memories’. It seems to me she was extremely intelligent and efficient. Even my very demanding mum could not find any fault with her.

By the way as far as I know, Tante Mietze was from the country. At age 14 she moved to Berlin to be employed by a prosperous Jewish family as one of their home helps. This was before World War One!

Now I want to mention my father’s parents. They were German citizens who lived in Lodz. The Germans in Polen at the time were going back several generations! The grandparents had six children, and all of them married and had children. Grandfather was a ‘Tischlermeister’ (joinery master) and all his life self employed. At some stage he had a lot of people working under him. I am not sure what sort of home help grandmother may have had when she had all these children. I am sure the older children would have helped with some of the younger ones. Anyhow when I knew the grandparents. grandmother always used to have two very young Polish girls to help her in the house. However, in January of 1945 the grandparents as well as all the family, that was still residing in Lodz, had to flee the city, for the Russian army was getting very close. Nearly all of them made it to Germany. They were  on the road in freezing temperatures. My uncle Ludwig, who was the grandparents’ younger son, had married late. I think he was in his forties and therefore not required to be in the army. As far as I know he was right to the last still doing his best filling army orders in grandfather’s furniture factory. Anyhow, Ludwig was married to Hilde and they had a young daughter and a new born son, who did not survive the escape from Lodz. I think it was so cold on the way that babies’ nappies did get frozen to their bodies! I think this casualty of the little guy was the only casualty the family had to suffer during the whole war!

So the family had to settle somewhere in Germany as very poor refugees. Grandfather did not survive this life of a refugee for very long. He died in Leipzig in March 1947 being aged 77. Everybody thought he did reach a very good old age. Here I wrote about his gravesite and about our visit to Leipzig:

https://auntyuta.com/2012/11/23/a-cemetery-in-leipzig/

https://auntyuta.com/2019/10/16/a-cemetery-in-leipzig-3/

https://auntyuta.com/2013/06/08/in-love-with-leipzig-2/

 

 

 

Uta’s Diary

Today I want to write about the life of an old age couple and who does the cleaning.

I turned 85 last September and Peter turned 85 a few days ago. Peter has multiple health problems. However the good thing is that so far he can still live at home. To me it seems like an enormous blessing that Peter and I can both live together at home. We enjoy every minute of it for we know that sooner or later all this is going to change; so we might just as well make the most of it while it lasts.

So, who does the cleaning? I would like to think, that we share it. With the sharing this works now only some of the time. Our strength is rather limited. So we cannot be too particular about certain cleaning jobs that should be done.

Some of our children sometimes act as though we do not have enough money to spend on ourselves. But so far this has not been the problem, not at all. On the contrary, we still have some savings and are usually able to save a bit more money on a weekly or monthly basis. Despite quite a bit of spending for medical items and consultations with specialists (General Practitioner consultations are mostly without any charge!), we feel medical expenses do not send us broke. Ambulance and hospital stays are for free! So, just how lucky are we? For some people in other countries this must seem like Australia is a dream country. I must say, we know we are extremely lucky.

And I must say, we are extremely lucky that we can still look after ourselves at home. With advancing age there are of course more and more dfifficulties in doing this. I for instance have advanced recently to using a ‘walker’. This light frame with wheels is extremely useful for when I feel very weak and rather than just using my walking stick to support me, I have this walker which makes it easier to move along! I believe my daughters think I have never done a lot of cleaning but now with advanced age it really is getting more and more difficult. Still, with Peter usually being able to do rather more than his share, we have sort of managed so far. Of course we could pay for some subsidised help. But this kind of help is very difficult to get in our area, unless it is an emergency. Anyhow, we have been put on a waiting list for subsidised help. We feel we are not in a position to pay for a lot of hourly help the way hourly work is paid for in Australia. That goes too for the rates that we would have to pay for gardening. So our backyard, where a lot of gardening should be done, gets extremely neglected!

Since we cannot pay for a lot of outside help, we should really be living in a somewhat more suitable place for old age pensioners. There are lots of reasons why it is rather difficult to move to a place like this unless it is an aged care home. And we would rather like to stay away from aged care homes. Even the very expensive ones tend to have staff shortages, and we could not afford a very expensive one anyway.

Both Peter’s father as well as my father did not live to a very old age. So age care was not an issue. Both our mothers though did live into their eighties. How were they cared for? Well, my mother paid her granddaughter to come in on a regular basis and do some work for her, and Peter’s mother paid one of her daughters to do some work for her. Both mothers lived in a very small apartment when they were at an advanced age.

 

Today’s Diary continued

Jenna Price today wrote an article in the Sydney Morning Herald with the heading:

At Sydney uni’s privilege factories the ‘mostly migrant’ workers clean up rich kids’ mess

Jenna Price says in this article the following: “. . . . we all know about the acceptance of alcohol and sexual assault, the relentlessness of the culture which says boys will be boys and girls will learn their place. What was more surprising to me was the stories of young men defecating in the halls and in the bathrooms . . . .”

I wonder what ‘culture’ we live in!!

The above Twitter notices I found when I googled the name ‘Jenna Price’.

This afternoon I wanted to write something completely different in my diary. Then Peter told me about the before mentioned heading in the SMH. I had no idea what was meant by “rich kids’ mess”. Now that I know, I am lost. I don’t know what to say to this . . . .

I had actually had wanted to say today a lot about the life of cleaners, that is people who are employed to clean up other people’s mess. In my head I had already contemplated how I could write about what over my whole life I had observed about the treatment of cleaners. Well, actually not just cleaners but all sorts of helpers that were employed to do some of the work that otherwise Madam or Sir would have to do. The very rich could always keep servants and as far as I know they still do. And why not? They can easily afford to pay for the service. In the past even people that were not all that rich could afford to pay for some help.

Maybe I start now on another post to write some more about what over my long life I had observed about the treatment of cleaners and other helpers in and around the home. I feel I could write for hours about it and how this 85 year old couple would enormously appreciate some daily help!

One Day before Mothers Day 2020

Today is Saturday, the 9th of May 2020. Next Saturday, the 16th of May, is Peter’s birthday. For Peter’s birthday we expect to be allowed to have a few visitors. This is why for tomorrow, on Mothers Day, we stay on our own, that is, just Peter with me having a nice special day. We do not mind this at all, since there is the pleasure of looking forward to having some visitors in one weeks time.

We had a very warm day yesterday, like a very pleasant summer day really, even though it is supposed to be autumn already in Australia. We expect to have another very warm day today. But from tomorrow on we are probably going to have much cooler temperatures again.

When we have a few visitors next week, we aim at spreading out in our backyard so we can still observe social distancing. We have a large and a very little table and plenty of garden chairs. So it should be possible to place everybody at a certain distance for as long as the weather is suitable for spending time outside. Especially for our great-grandchilden I think it would be good to be able to run around outside instead of being cooped up inside.

Thinking of the space at the back of our house, I am getting somewhat anxious that quite a bit more gardening is required. I actually tried to do some gardening here and there. But I feel it is never enough what I can do, and what Peter can do is very limited too. We have this extra problem now with our frontyard, that is actually common property. However there are certain issues again as to the maintenance of the common area. This is quite upsetting for me, but I try, not to worry too much.

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DSCN5880 This picture is from the frontyard, the others are from the backyard!