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Austria shuts down – Covid Update March 15

Things continue to move faster than I can keep up with. Measures and restrictions that were planned on Friday, kept changing throughout the weekend.

Restaurants and cafés were supposed to stay open until 3pm starting Monday, so that people would be able to get lunch there. But the government decided to have all restaurants, cafés, pubs etc shut down completely. But not just them, all stores are staying being closed, except for supermarkets, pet supply stores, pharmacies, banks and gas stations.

Government offices that are not that important at the moment, will shut down for the public, but they will continue to work behind closed doors. Everything will be handled over phone, online forms, email, fax and letterboxes.

The military reserve is being called up

Although I don’t know what they’re going to be doing yet. But I think they will help to ensure the protection of supermarkets, pharmacies and help to keep the peace in the city.

Stay at home order

The government announced that there are now only 3 reasons to leave our homes and it goes as follows:

  • To get anything that is needed for life, like groceries, medication, pet food. Of course to go to the doctor for medication and treatment that can’t be postponed.
  • To go to work, but this means jobs that are needed to keep the country running. Doctors, Nurses, Firefighters, Police, Military, people working in jobs that are important for the infrastructure (power, gas, water, public transport, delivery of goods, parcels and mail, jobs in the communications industry like phone and internet etc). Anyone that can work from home, has to work from home.
  • The 3rd reasons to go out is to help others. For example, to help disabled or elderly and supply them with food and medications, so that they don’t have to go out to the store, doctor or pharmacy themselves.

People are allowed to walk their dogs though.

Parks and playgrounds are closed.

At first, people were asked to adhere to it on their own. But the government said that this didn’t work, therefore they said, they have to enforce it this way.

In Graz, the 2nd largest city of Austria (Vienna is Nr. 1), the streets were pretty much empty.

So within a very short time, the government decided that the lock-down and the restrictions would have to be enforced.

From what they announced, people walking alone will not be stopped or asked where they are going, only groups. But they said in their press conference, depending on how people behave, this might change. I’m expecting many more restrictions and the lock-down of cities and areas.

More news: Germany is closing it’s borders with Austria

Germany will partially close its borders with France, Switzerland, Austria, Luxembourg and Denmark as it steps up efforts to stem the spread of the new coronavirus.

What Saturday night looked like from the main square webcam

The main square in Graz, which is normally a very busy place on a Saturday evening, was very empty, except for a few people. The main square is usually always busy, especially during the weekend, since it’s right next to an area with a lot of pubs and clubs. But at 7:41pm, only a few people were out that evening. Nothing would have been open anyway.

How we’re doing

Our street was again extremely quiet. The building itself is quiet as well, you hardly hear anything. Only for our sweet cats the world is like always, at least for the most part.

It’s rather cold, unfortunately, but the sun was shining. So the babies were able to enjoy the sun for a little on the balcony. Samantha enjoyed the sun at the window and Sonic on the bed.

Lisa and Hero
Samantha at the bedroom window

That’s what the bed is like every day and every night. I’m able to cuddle myself between all the cats which makes for the best sleep. I can’t sleep without cats. Ralph usually goes to sleep later than myself, but he is able to get in as well. Sonic, Hero and Lisa usually pile up around me and on me, while Samantha cuddles up to Ralph’s legs.

It’s now 11:40pm, and I’ll go to bed after publishing this post.

I’m sure tomorrow will bring many changes again, as probably almost every day in the near future.

Love, Natascha & the cats 💕

Everything · Pictures · Ralph and I · Society and News

The mood has completely changed – Covid Update March 13

While people and daily life still seemed very normal at the beginning of this week, this has now changed, almost overnight.

Yesterday, everything started changing throughout the day. It’s hard to describe, but the mood is very subdued and strange.

While more new measures and restrictions were being planned by our government yesterday, rumours started spreading.

It started yesterday morning. Rumours that were saying that absolutely everything, including supermarkets, pharmacies and all government offices (including social welfare, national health, health department etc) will close down next week. I knew right away it wasn’t true and I tried my best to keep telling people it’s not true.

The government gave a press conference, announcing that more restrictions are being planned, but that the rumours floating around are false.

Supermarkets, pharmacies, banks, government offices, post/mail and basically everything that is important for the country, daily life, the infrastructure and it’s people will remain open they say. Closures and restrictions will be implemented on businesses and services that people can live without for a few weeks.

Yesterday, a pharmacy in the city was already limiting the amount of people who were able to enter at the same time. Only 3 people were allowed in the pharmacy at once.

Today, that same pharmacy was serving people only through the hatch in the door.

Then this morning, more rumours were spreading which caused widespread panic buying

Early this morning, some more rumours were floating around and spreading like wildfire. Some rumours were still the same as yesterday, while others were new. Today the rumours had it, that absolutely all stores, pharmacies, gas stations and banks will close down by midday today and that a curfew will be implemented for the night-time starting Monday.

People started panic buying in such numbers, that people were waiting for an hour or longer at supermarkets. It kept getting progressively worse all day. The shelves are now empty pretty much. Even shortly after the supermarkets had opened for the day, shelves were emptied within a short time. Some stores were hit worse than others, depending on their location.

Long lines of people waiting to get into one of the larger grocery stores in a mall not far away from us. It was like that at most supermarkets. (Source: KronenZeitung krone.at/2116507)

I heard from my friend, who lives just a block away from us, that she saw people ripping food out of each others hands at the store. Then we heard that one Aldi store (called Hofer in Austria), located in a rather bad area, had been pretty much wrecked by people ripping open packages and simply being rowdy and selfish.

Mostly it was long long lines in front of grocery stores. People were running into banks and building lines in front of ATMs. In turn, many ATMs were out of order by the early afternoon.

What also did not help was that nothing was being done about people taking way too much at once for themselves in the grocery stores (for example one person/family buying up all the milk).

Basically, people were panic buying and going crazy all day.

My Dad said that all of the bread was gone within a short time after the stores opened in the morning. I hope the panic buying will calm down again over the course of next week.

The new measures that were announced by the government today

  • All schools, including high schools, elementary schools and kindergartens, as well as universities and any education facilities will close by Wednesday. Universities and higher education will be closed on Monday already. But students can stay home already if they can.
  • Restaurants, pubs, cafés etc, have to close by 3pm in the afternoon. So nightclubs and anything else that would be open all night, will stay closed completely. They want to avoid all those many people coming together every night, especially during the weekends, while going out.
  • All sports events are cancelled
  • Some areas in Tyrol, which is especially badly hit by the outbreak in Austria, will be put under quarantine.
  • Supermarkets, banks, pet supply stores, pharmacies, tobacconists, public transport, post and mail services and other essential parts of society, like all facilities and companies that are important for all the infrastructure in Austria (including Telephone and Internet), will not be closed at any point
  • Public transport: Trams and Busses will automatically open the doors for entry and exit at every stop, so people won’t have to use the buttons to open them. Only the trams and busses will be used that have a separate cabin for the drivers to protect them
  • People are asked to stay home, unless it is absolutely necessary and can’t be avoided. People should gather with friends and family for now and instead use other means (internet, phone) to stay in contact.

Some news regarding my medication supply

I had put in a request to get my pain medication supply home with me for the next 3 1/2 weeks.

Though I got a call this morning from my doctors office, informing me that the health department has said, that nobody is getting their medicine home for a longer period of time, even if they have plenty of their time allowance left, which I did. No exceptions.

On the other hand, I also got some reassuring news. Apparently, my pharmacy will not close down. In the worst case they said, they will serve everyone through the little hatch. Those hatches exist for the night shifts, where people are being served through those hatches as well.

Our plan for the next month (or beyond if it’s neccessary)

Since I expected panic buying, I had ordered a bunch of food in time. So our supplies last for about two months, including the supplies for the cats. The only thing I can’t get more of in advance is my medicine.

It’s now eerily quiet and empty in the streets

I was out at about 4pm, which is normally very busy on Friday. But even the busiest street was very empty. Hardly any cars. Hardly any people. And now at night, nobody is out. It’s totally quiet and empty in the street as far as I can see.

One supermarket I passed earlier was dark for some reason. Looked like they had to close down for some reason. I also saw people with loads of boxes of groceries, and big bags full of the same, entering their apartment buildings, or carrying the shopping home. I also saw long lines in front of Tobacconists in the city centre. Our area wasn’t like that thankfully.

It was already very weird and quiet everywhere. Even our building is quiet. Normally you would hear people getting ready to go out on a Friday night, but there is no one going now. There is no music being heard from anywhere, no friends coming over. People are just in their homes.

I would not be surprised if some rather bad people will try to use the emptiness of city streets for bad things. We are thankfully in a safe area anyway, but I still closed down the shutters in front of our street facing window. I’m always rather safe.

I’ll keep you all updated anyway. Ralph, the cats and I are still perfectly fine ❤ I’m now off to bed, as it’s way past midnight and I’m tired.

Love from us and the cats to all of you!

Good night from Sonic and Lisa in our fluffy comfy bed
Everything · Pictures · Ralph and I · The Cats

Hot day today! Some more flopped out cats.

It’s been hot with high humidity all day. Even Murli didn’t stay on the balcony and went inside at 10am already. She’s been up on the fridge all afternoon. I found out that there is a slightly cool spot right in the middle at the top of the fridge. So that smart girl found that out at some point, which is why she’s always up there when she feels hot.

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Murli and Samantha

Even Samantha likes to be near the fridge and she enjoys Murlis big cat bed. Though Samantha likes to move around a bit more and changes her sleeping spot repeatedly.

Sonic moves around as well and changes his sleeping spot constantly throughout the day. Especially when it’s hot, he likes to simply be flopped out somewhere. It’s his favourite position when it’s hot.

Here is a of photos of him flopping all over the place. Some of the pics are from earlier in the summer, but most of them are recent.

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After Murli has been on the fridge for most of the day, she’s just gone on the balcony again. It’s almost 7pm now and still hot outside, although less than during the day of course.

Murli is herself all flopped out now…

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Murli

Cute Cat Lady Stuff
I’m enjoying working on my crochet Cat Curtain for the living room. Once I have a bit more of the cats, I’ll post my progress. I just love doing it. It’s relaxing! I especially enjoy doing it while I listen to podcasts on my phone, sitting outside on the balcony.

Something else I wanted to share are those cute things:

CatladyStuff_20190811_01
Cat figure on the bathroom window

A little cat figure on the bathroom window…

and a kitty wind chime above the balcony door…

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Kitty wind chime

I love wind chimes! When I saw this one on Amazon back in 2018, I had to get it for our home. It’s lovely when I hear the chime when a breeze comes through. It’s been difficult to photograph because it’s so high up. The chime is hanging in front of the top window that’s above the balcony door.

There is a lot of Catlady stuff throughout our home… But it makes me happy seeing those cute things around lol.

WordPress Premium
In case you’ve seen the way my blog looks, with the new background and colours changed, that’s because I have finally decided to get WordPress Premium. The reason I did that was to be able to monetize the blog. It would be crazy awesome to be able to earn a little bit with blogging. I want to get into blogging a lot more and it would be wonderful if I can add a tiny bit of income with it. No matter how small, everything counts.

Yet another unexpected update regarding the bathroom/wet walls problem
Today a contractor from the company that will fix everything rang our doorbell. We didn’t expect anyone today, but I guess he was having a look at everything outside. He asked to have a look at the shower tap and shower wall. Of course, there’s nothing to be seen, but I explained to him what the other contractor found out.

He told me that they will come by again soon to decide how to go about fixing everything. Because apparently, they do want to get into the wall now to look at the pipe. On the other side of our shower tap is the back of the communal toilet in the hallway. And it’s that wall that is quite wet. That wall can’t be seen at all by anyone, except the people using the toilet, which are two people. I never knew what it looked like in there until the contractor showed me.

Thankfully we have our own toilet IN our apartment and also thankfully, our toilet is not wet and won’t have to be messed with.

Something has been going on there for a long time and I guess they just want to have a proper look at it all and fix it all for good.

He said they will come by at first to decide if they are ripping into the wall from the side of the communal toilet, or if they go in from our side in the shower. If they go in on our side, it means a much bigger construction site for us and tiles being removed and everything. Which is a shame, since it’s looking really nice. I love the tiles we have…

If they have to rip out the whole shower including basin and everything, then we’ll have them put in a new shower. The new shower would be paid by us anyway. The reason we would have it changed then is that the shower basin currently has no proper foundation/support underneath. As it is now, it will break completely anyway at some point. You can feel it is a bit bouncy, because the shower basin kind of just hangs in the air, for the most part, only supported at the edge probably.

Whoever did the installation of the shower and shower tap long before us, probably wasn’t a proper professional. Thankfully they’re all professionals from proper companies now. So things will be done properly.

Of course, being me, I got a refill of anxiety after hearing about having to have a construction site in our bathroom after all. But Ralph got me calmed down again, talking about how there isn’t really anything to worry about and how I should just let them get on with it, doing their jobs and then it’s over with and how it’s a good thing if they fix everything. We also don’t have to pay for that fix either, since the landlord’s insurance pays for it.

Like I wrote in my post yesterday, somebody from the landlord’s insurance company is coming tomorrow morning to also have a look at everything and measure the humidity in all the walls.

I just hope nobody tried to call me today because there’s a massive outage on Magenta Telekom’s network. Magenta T. belongs to T-Mobile. Nobody on that network had cellphone reception since the early morning. No calls or text and no internet on cellphones. But thankfully the normal internet modem works fine. It’s just the cellphones for some reason. I can’t remember there ever being such a big outage. It’s all of Austria. Not that I care all that much, since it feels actually nice to know that nobody can call me, which means I can’t get any calls regarding the bathroom/wet wall problem, which would only feed my anxiety again lol.

The title in the image below translates to: “Map of Magenta’s outages/problems”

Underneath it translates to: “The last reported problems mostly came from: …”

Screenshot of Magenta-Störungskarte _ Allestörungen
Outage areas for the Magenta (T-Mobile) outage. The only white area is where the big mountains of the alps are lol. No cell reception up there anyway.

So we’ll see what comes out of the appointment with the man from the insurance company tomorrow. I’ll keep you all updated.

Thank you all so very much for your wonderful and kind comments on yesterdays post! All of you are always so sweet to me! Love you all! 💕🙋😻😻😻💕

Everything · Pictures · The Cats

It’s summer here! Cats all flopped out all day.

Just look at them!

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It’s been lovely, but hot and unfortunately very humid, which is the actual problem. The temperature itself would not be so hard on them. The apartment is nice and comfortably cool. During the worst heat of the day, the cats don’t even want to go out, not even Murli, which says a lot.

Murli spends most of the afternoon up on the fridge…

Murli_Fridge_001
Murli

Murli_Fridge_002
She enjoys when the fan is on too!

Samantha and Sonic like to hang out in the bedroom when the window is open with just the cat safety net on. It’s impossible to make the bed in the morning like that. If you try, they will help, but with their help, it will take longer than to just wait until they are somewhere else (which will be about midday or even later).

Samantha_Sonic_Bedroom
Sonic and Samantha

Samantha_Bedroom
Samantha telling me she’ll love to help make the bed

Sonic
Sonic – He’s not going to move… He’s enjoying the breeze from the window

But in the evening they like to hang out on the balcony again.

Murli_Balcony
Murli, and she even took a bit of string to play and later fell asleep on it

Samantha_Balcony_002
Samantha on the other chair (I replaced the previous image with this one from the same evening, because I realised I already had the photo with Samantha on the blankie in my slideshow at the top of the post lol)

In other things…

There is a forecast for thunderstorm and heavy rain for the afternoon today. Since my Dad is on vacation for two weeks, I take care of the flowers on the grave of my Mum and my grandparents. I usually go there in the morning, before it gets too hot. I love to take care of them and it’s a lovely bicycle ride, which I record on my GoPro. I was even able to keep my hat on without it flying off!

Avocado
It’s this hat, that Ralph found in Ronda, Spain

But with the forecast predicting so much rain, I’ll take a gamble and hope the rain will take care of the flowers today. I’ve been a bit exhausted these days from doing a lot and need a day of not having to go out (which would be today). But if no rain comes, I’ll go to the cemetery in the early evening.

Also, after having migraines every single day for more than a week, I finally got a bit of a break. Didn’t have one yesterday and as of right now, I feel fine too!

Ralph, the cats and myself, wish all the awesome Dad’s (which includes Cat Dad’s too of course) out there a happy Father’s Day! Hope you have a wonderful day!

Love, Murli, Samantha, Sonic and me ❤

PS: The cats told me to help them make a Father’s Day card for Ralph, their Daddy. So I used one of my apps on my phone and they told me what to do. Happy Cat Daddy Day!

16-06-2019 Happy Daddy Day Card
The Father’s Day card the cats made for Ralph (with my help)

 

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Everything · Pictures · Places · Ralph and I · The Cats

Our nice weekend

Friday started out much warmer and more sunny than it has been for many weeks. But Caturday felt almost like summer, as did Sunday, when it was even warmer. So of course the balcony door and the windows were open all day for the cats to enjoy, and for us too.

It was nice to feel warm air coming in from the open balcony door for a change. I put the umbrella up and some hung two mats on either end of the balcony for shade, and put the chairs out.

Samantha jumped right through the string curtain and onto this chair…

Samantha with string 01
Samantha: “What? Do I have something on my face?”

Samantha with string 02
Samantha does not care… Bird watching is more important.

No, she could not care less about the string on her head. The birds were up and down at the feeder and it was just nice out there in the shade.

Murli and Samantha stayed out there most of the afternoon on Saturday.

Samantha and Murli
Murli and Samantha

They like to change the chairs every now and then. Thankfully we have more than those two chairs, so I was able to get a chair for myself too.

Unlike Samantha, Murli tends to get hot more easily with her longer fur, so she went in to rest on the fridge for a while.

Murli on the fridge 01

Murli on the fridge 02
Murli on the fridge

Later in the afternoon, more and more clouds came up, and the wind started picking up too. We really thought rain would be coming again.

Clouds 01

It was totally overcast by the time I went to bed later that night, but to my surprise, the next morning (Sunday) was clear and sunny!

This lovely Sunday became the first really beautiful warm day this year. We all really enjoyed the warm air coming in through the windows and the balcony door all day, and how nice it was outside.

Even Sonic, who only really likes to go out for longer when it is warm, was enjoying it out there. The birds were active at the feeder as usual, providing entertainment for Sonic, Samantha and Murli.

Sonic
Sonic

Sonic and Samantha
Sonic and Samantha

Murli on the balcony 01
Murli

Also on that Sunday, Austria voted in the European Elections. I went to my local voting station right in the morning, because it might have been much more busy later that day, since we live in the biggest district in our city. It was just down the street from us in a school building.

Election at the local school
The building where I voted

Above the entrance it says “Mädchen”, which is German for “girls”. It is an old school building and still has the writing from when schools used to be separated into girls and boys houses. The second half of the building, which is farther to the left and not in the picture, the writing above the entrance says “Knaben” which is an older German word for “boys”.

It was quite busy in our street that day from all the people going to cast their votes. This school was just one of many voting stations in our district. Every district in the city has many of them. It’s usually very close to where you live and schools and other public buildings are used as voting stations.

Anyways, I went back home to enjoy the rest of the day with my awesome husband and my sweet kitties. So we truly had a great weekend, despite having had two migraines.

Today, Monday, I woke up with yet another migraine… The weather had changed again and it was dark, cold and raining. It kept raining all day too and we had to put the heat back on lol. But we’re already looking forward to the weekend again, because the forecast says it will be nice!

Hope you all had a lovely weekend and had a pleasant start into the new week ❤