Greetings from the Omicron epicenter! I imagine lots of people in other parts of the world, and even elsewhere in South Africa, are wondering what’s really happening with the Omicron variant in Gauteng. We’ve got some first-hand experience at the Blogitect (blogger + architect) household, so here it is. (If you’re curious about the recent covid stats in South Africa, click here.)

Omicron isolation sketch
Chilling at home with Omicron. Sketch by @thethinking_hand.
Trixie and our Brixton home
Home, a place I have gotten to know very well over the past week.

This past Monday my partner Thorsten tested positive for covid. His symptoms started on Saturday night. He had covid once before in June/July, presumably the Delta variant, and got vaccinated with Johnson & Johnson in late September. We assume he has Omicron this time.

Thorsten had mild to moderate flu symptoms for three or four days — sore throat, congestion, body aches, and a general malaise — but started to feel better yesterday (Thursday) and continues to improve today. His range of symptoms has been similar for both Delta and Omicron, except he lost his sense of smell/taste with Delta and that hasn’t happened this time (yet). In case you’re wondering about Thorsten’s age and health status, he’s about to turn 50 and has no underlying conditions.

We have no idea where Thorsten contracted covid either time; we attended two small, indoor events the week that Omicron started, but I suspect that was too long ago. There’s not much point in speculating though; people are getting covid left and right and contact tracing is impossible.

I have not had any covid symptoms. I tested negative (with a PCR test) on Wednesday, and hopefully I’ll stay that way. I haven’t had covid at all yet (as far as I know), despite my partner getting it twice — go figure. (Back in June, Thorsten tested positive just a couple of days after I traveled from South Africa to the United States. So theoretically he had it before I left. I tested three times during the ensuing weeks and all the tests were negative.) I got vaccinated with Pfizer in June/July.

So the Blogitects are both isolating at home for the next several days, which is kind of a drag mentally but also not that bad. We really enjoy each other’s company, we can both work from home fairly easily, and we just spent three months making our new house in Brixton a really nice place to spend time. Also there is very little to do outside the house anyway, as all the fun December activities we’d planned to participate in are either canceled or postponed.

Passing the Time During Isolation

Here are some of the things we’ve been doing to kill time at home:

  • Sketching (Thorsten). See above.
  • Knitting (me). I took up knitting just before the pandemic, but I’ve become an absolute knitting fiend during Omicron.
Knitted hats
I have recently graduated from scarf-knitting to hat-knitting. I still need some practice at seeming (as you can see by the sad state of affairs on the left side of the blue hat) but I’m getting there.
Pussy hat in prgress
My current project: A Pussyhat. (Thanks to Gail for the recommendation.)
  • Cooking (Thorsten and me). We’ve cooked a few nice things during isolation and we’ve got a few more nice meals planned. (Luckily we did a really big shop just before Thorsten got sick, and we placed a big order with Munching Mongoose after.) My favorite isolation meal so far was the pumpkin fritters Thorsten made for lunch yesterday.
Pumpkin fritters
Pumpkin fritters: Yum. Here’s the recipe he used.
  • Thrifting (me). I’ve blogged about this multiple times already, but I am obsessed with buying second-hand clothes from my friend Ryan, a.k.a. @ThreeDogsThrift. I’ve procured three new items during isolation.)
Thrifted pineapple dress
Check out my thrifted pineapple dress! Every time I wear it, Thorsten and I will be reminded of our epic 2021 pilgrimage to the Big Pineapple. (Photo: Thorsten Deckler)
  • Admiring the cat (Thorsten and me). We spend hours each day admiring Trixie, the Brixton Cat, assessing the cuteness of her every move and feature. Wouldn’t you?
Trixie on a chair
Like seriously she’s the most beautiful cat on earth and I love her so much.
Trixie tail
Thorsten: Look, Trixie’s tail is sticking out from under the bed!
Heather: Awwwwwwww, Trix! You lost your tail! What are you doing under there, Trix? Where’s your tail?
Thorsten (tapping on bed frame): Trix, what’re doing? Trix!
Heather: Trix!
(Tail disappears. Repeat sequence one hour later.)
Trixie on the deck
Did I mention I love my cat?
  • Admiring the beauty of our home (Thorsten and me but mainly me). See below.

Our Omicron Home

We’re so happy in this house and I’m incredibly grateful we were able to move in and get settled before Omicron hit. The biggest new development is a deck off the back of the house, which was finished last month (thank God) and has completely transformed our relationship with the outdoors.

Our deck in Brixton
New deck with new furniture (more on that below).

And since we don’t have a ton of outdoor space, I’ve made a conscious effort to populate both the inside and outside of the house with plants. I’ve really never been a plant person before this, but I sure did decide to become one at exactly the right time. These plants are preserving my sanity.

Here are a few pictures of plants and other home furnishings that have made me particularly happy this week.

Delicious monster
This “delicious monster” is one of the first plants I procured for the house back in October. It’s been growing vigorously and bringing us joy ever since. The plant came from the Garden Shop in Parktown North and the pot came from Liebermann Pottery — basically my two favorite places to shop in 2021.
Plant and pot in Brixton
Another Garden Shop/Liebermann Pottery combo. Also I love that we can see the Brixton Tower from our deck.
Plant in the Brixton house
This plant (also from the Garden Shop) is called a Pilea depressa, which is a funny name because I find it so cheerful.
Deck view
Another look at the deck and part of our deck furniture set, which I love. We found the table and four chairs at the Garden Shop (are you seeing a pattern here?), hiding behind a Jojo tank at the back of the nursery. The set is a little bit rusted so we procured it for half price: R2500 ($156) instead of R5000. (Most of the furniture for sale at the Garden Shop is super expensive.) We will eventually cover the rust and paint it some crazy color, but I also like the current cream color.
Scrapture cat by Pilato
My new “scrapture” cat by scrap metal artist Pilato Bulala. I’ve blogged about Pilato in the past; he lives in Venda but he can ship anywhere in South Africa. I can’t recommend his work highly enough.
Brixton house with sun
For weeks, I’d been looking for one (or several) of these ceramic, Mexican-style wall ornaments, which were all the rage in South Africa during the 1970s and 80s. I finally found one last week at Yesterday’s Heroes Antiques in Linden. Yay.

And that is my update from Omicron land. Life could be better but it could also be a lot worse. If you’ve made it this far, thank you for reading this rambling post.

Heather and Trixie
I don’t think Trixie really wanted to pose with me for this photo.

How are all of you feeling? Give me a shout, as they say in South Africa. I have lots of time on my hands this weekend and would love nothing more than to read and respond to your comments.

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