Pandemic Thoughts 4

Hey, Person out there with cabin fever?

I see you. I get it. You are 300% done with staying at home all.the.damn.time.

I’m asking you, however, to hold on a while longer. How long, I cannot say. I don’t have that answer. But please, if you don’t need to go out, don’t. Flatten the hell out of the curve.

I may be an Essential Service provider, but there are moments when I resent that my need to earn money puts me in a really difficult position. I am still waiting for a shipment of latex gloves from Amazon, which I am reasonably assured will arrive anytime between yesterday and the end of this month; and I have not been able to get a mask that won’t trigger buried anxieties about being suffocated.

I honestly do not know how I made it this far without getting sick. It could also be that I am a Typhoid Mary: asymptomatic and a frightful carrier. If that were true, though, how have my husband and my daughter escaped? I am overthinking this. Totally.

Am I worried about the impact of businesses and stores re-opening? You betcha. Nothing in the news reports I have read bodes well. I’m not even sure I want to go back to the way things were before this pandemic. You know that meme that asks if you could live in near-total isolation for a million dollars for x amount of time? Cut me a cheque, find someone qualified to pilot the plane, and don’t make me put my animals in the cargo hold.

(Breathe, Vic. Inhale, count to 3, exhale.)

If only it was that easy, right?

I can tell myself this: I don’t have to go out, until I have to. Think happy thoughts. Smile at the rainbows and hearts posted in windows throughout my work travel areas. This won’t last forever.

Photo: Cottonbro

Pandemic Thoughts 3

I’m growing tired, and time stands still before me.

– Elton John, Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me

So. Story time.

I stop my car outside one of the convenience stores on my paper route. It’s about 5:00 a.m. and I’m barely stifling a stream of yawns. I keep forgetting that milky tea is as likely to put me to sleep as the caffeine in the tea is supposed to keep me awake.

For some reason, I catch sight of something dark shuffling along the paved parking lot away from the car. God help me, it’s a large, winged beetle, dragging its back legs behind it. And without a single thought, I’m talking to a crippled beetle just before sunrise.

It was a short conversation, one sided obviously. I told the beetle if it didn’t fly up onto my face – the stuff most of my insect phobias are made of – I would make a point not to run it over on my way out of the parking lot.

So it didn’t, and I didn’t. And then I told myself, it was good I didn’t harm or kill it, in case it was John Lennon or George Harrison come back to say give peace a chance. Something about entertaining angels, unawares. In that moment, I embraced a newfound Jainism.

And I finished my route, and collapsed on my sofa with moments to spare before I started teleworking at my “later in the day” job.

Irrational attempts at connecting with animals didn’t begin and end with me today, however. One of my sister-kindreds later shared a story with our group about trying to catch a “MANGY MANGY” squirrel with her bare hands in what she called a “BE MY FRIEND act of desperation” for physical contact. She conceded it was good that she didn’t. Rabies and all.

We’re an eccentric but loving bunch, what can I say?

And clearly very sleep-deprived.

Pandemic Thoughts 2

It occurred to me this morning while driving for my paper route that the time has come to update Allen Ginsberg’s Howl.

I’d start with something along the lines of, I saw the best minds of my generation collapse beneath the weight of first world problems. The pandemic will be scored by Jim Steinman and sung by Bonnie Tyler. Holding out for a hero, indeed.

The heroes of course are the essential workers. The medical personnel who have to cope daily with all kinds of shit and the aftermath of bad advice spooned out by the tin foil hatters and their dimwit leader, Donald Trump. It’s pretty bad when Lysol’s social media team has to come out with a tweet advising against human consumption of their product to cure Covid-19. No, Mr President, we do not like your sarcasm. We do not like it on a boat, we do not like it on a goat. 4 out of 5 epidemiologists agree that Dr Seuss, second only to Dr Fauci, makes perfect sense during these trying times.

I should video chat with my 3 year old granddaughter today and ask her if her thoughts on curing Covid-19 have changed. Her answer alone will be worth the smiles and laughter. She told her father that when she grows up, she’s going to be a doctor. I hope you are, darling girl, I hope you are.

I had a brief conversation with one of my newspaper customers yesterday. He happened to be opening the garage door just as I pulled up with his paper. Very kindly asked me how I’m doing. Attempt at humour followed.

No. That’s not right. I am frightened. If I take a wrong turn in my role – an essential service – as an asthmatic I could be on a ventilator in no time. He told me that he was born shortly after the end of the Second World War, and he’s lived through a lot of stuff. Never thought he’d see the day when his wife wore what amounts to a space suit to go to the bank at 5:00 a.m. to replenish their cash stores because they spent what they had to hand. Figures it will be at least another year to a year and a half before we start seeing an end to this thing.

I agreed with him. I only leave the house for work, and the rest of the time I shut out the world at home with my pets. I have come to the conclusion that there is such a thing as too much sleep. I’ve been eating what feels like my weight in junk food. If Cool Ranch Doritos are wrong, I don’t wanna be right.

Photo by icon0.com from Pexels

I don’t know how we get ahead of this mess, honestly. It’s Dickens writ large: it was the best of humanity, and was the worst of humanity. I’m sat here trying to download software updates on my work computer and my husband commented on how quiet I am, I must be lost in thought.

The revolution will be led by those who survive it. Godspeed to us all.

 

 

Pandemic Thoughts

Isolate

Isolated

Isolating

It seems like a lifetime since the middle of March, when the world as we knew it began shutting down.

It’s been one hell of a time.

My oldest son had a call back date in place for work that was scrubbed as soon as his branch of the construction industry was deemed non-essential.

My daughter and her twin brother have been home from school and recently began distance learning online. My partner’s shop closed and might start back up again the first week of May.

My toddler granddaughter has been rampaging at home ever since most of Ontario’s licensed daycare centres were added to the growing list of lockdowns, testing her father’s patience and causing me to stifle giggles. Am I heartless enough to call his reactions Grandma’s revenge?

It’s been weeks since I’ve seen my parents, who are in their early 70s. The last time I can remember such a lonely Easter was 17 years ago when SARS was the health concern and I was alone with a very ill infant in Toronto, in the pediatric critical care unit at SickKids Hospital, awaiting complex open heart surgery.

My granddaughter has the solution to Covid-19: bandaids and hotdogs.

Netflix and our pets have been constant companions this time around. My lifeline has been a Facebook Messenger group comprised of me, my sister, and three close girlfriends who have become sister-level kindreds. Most mornings the chatter begins with a posting of a photo of Adam Driver, followed by a series of GIFs of Golden Girl Blanche Devereaux spritzing herself with cold water. (Picture it: Ottawa, April of 2020.) I also sleep with my handbag, a habit born of necessity after I caught my special needs kid trying to order random crap from Amazon with my Visa debit card.

I finally attempted grocery shopping today. The store my daughter and I went to has imposed a ‘one person per household’ policy, so she went back to the car and was soon bombarded with a series of PM texts and photos from me as I bumbled through the aisles. My son texts me that my granddaughter has the solution to Covid-19: bandaids and hotdogs. I also learn that she calls Netflix “Crackflix.” Kid’s not wrong. Sometimes hotdogs are the answer, especially when they come from a chip stand.

Once this quarantine is over, if it ever ends, I think I want to load up the car and hit the road west. I have never been to the western part of Canada. The Pacific Ocean beckons.

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Life with T1D: Game Changer

Just my luck. I sit down to write and the room starts to spin.

I may have eaten my weight, or at the very least a newborn’s weight, in Orville Redenbacher’s Caramel and White Cheddar popcorn. Wondering now if that’s behind the sudden tilt in my balance.

My daughter and I had our first session of insulin pump training at the hospital today. It was a lot to take in. The dietitian who helped us work on some advanced carb counting told K. that today she has been reborn. (I thought perhaps she meant that K. got a new lease on life. Six and two threes?)

We have accounts to create and supplies to order. Neither of us wants to mess this up. I’d better remind K. to set alarms on her phone for finger pokes overnight. (No, wait. That’s next week.)

I had been thinking about doing an UberEats shift. Maybe not the best idea for today.

Game changer.

That’s what people in the T1D groups are saying.

K. and I are more than a little freaked out, all the same.

Soon this will no longer be her reality.

Happy Gotcha Day, Loki!

A year ago today, friends needed to rehome a black cat who had adopted them by virtue of showing up on their back step and persisting in being allowed inside their apartment.

I’m a sucker for panther babies. My daughter promptly claimed naming rights. Thus Loki, aka Lolobirdy and The Lokinator, came to live with us.

He’s an easygoing fellow, unless his water bowl is empty or he can see the bottom of the kibble dish. He is expert at weaving an infinity loop around human legs. We have no idea how old he actually is, but age ain’t nothing but a number. He has been a source of comfort to me ever since Jeeber Cat died last October. Even Coco has – in true tortie style – made peace with Loki.

Enjoy your day, Lolobirdy. I’ll give you a chin massage and belly rub later, when I see you.

All photo credit goes to Keely Martin, Loki’s favourite human.

Dear Oblivious Male Partner

Today’s blog is a series of PSAs. Ladies to men. Use as needed.

Dishes will never wash themselves, no matter how hard we wish for it. The dishwasher tabs are in a box, under the sink.

It’s not babysitting when they’re your own kids.

Just put the seat down. You know which one.

You don’t get to say you’ve given up doing housework when you don’t offer to help with it, Spongebob.

Got others? Do share in the comments. I plan on making printables and posting them randomly around the house, starting with someone’s computer screen.

Signed, “Broke A Damned Sweat Hunting Down A Drawer’s Worth Of Cutlery”

Stupid Easy Chili

Chili Seasonings, Tomato Sauce, Red Kidney Beans

I hesitated for a bit before coming up with the title for this recipe post. I don’t want to leave any of you with the idea that you’re stupid. I support a kinder, gentler Internet. So here you go. I’m sharing a dish that my teenagers ate and LIKED. Everybody wins. Will there be leftovers? Yes, but they won’t last long once my partner spots the casserole dish in the fridge.

Ingredients:

2 lbs of ground pork

1 can (398 mL) of Hunt’s Tomato Sauce

1 can (540 mL) of Aylmer Accents Chili Seasonings

1 can (540 mL) of Unico Red Kidney Beans (No Salt Added)

1 cup of cooked white rice

Instructions:

Rinse the kidney beans. Combine the beans, tomato sauce, and chili seasonings in a medium size mixing bowl. Set aside.

Brown the ground pork in a deep frying pan. Add bowl of chili fixings to the pan and simmer while the rice cooks. I have a countertop rice maker but I get better results when I make rice on the stovetop.

Place in bowls, or whatever you want.

Serves 4-6.

Total time? The rice takes 15 minutes after it’s covered. Browning the meat varies depending on whether or not you’re cooking from frozen or using fresh ground pork. The chili will do its thing quite happily on the stovetop while the rice cooks.

Try it out and let me know what you think, in the comments.

Bon appétit!

Let The Binging Begin!

Netflix Canada, why? Why aren’t you offering the first season of RuPaul’s Drag Race?

The only contestant from Season 2 who I recognize is Jujubee, because she was on Drag Me Down The Aisle.

And, of course, there’s Shangela. She quit her job to appear on Drag Race.

Bear with me while I catch up with the rest of y’all, even if Season 1 eludes me!

The Things We Do For Love

“Love is rare,” says Peoples Jewellers in its current TV commercial for diamond engagement rings.

After about a week of semi-obsessively watching 90-Day Fiancé on TLC, I think they might be onto something.

There’s a part of me that looks at the women and men who have chosen to appear on this show, and gets it. And the other part wants to give their heads a shake. I met my partner online. And my ex-husband. And the guy I briefly dated a few months before I met my ex. I dislike the bar scene and I am an introvert with occasional extroverted tendencies. I chose to look for love online for the same reasons anyone else does, I suppose.

I think I’d have to know someone longer than mere weeks or a couple of months before I offer to sponsor them from overseas for a K-1 visa. I already know what my parents’ reaction would be if I ever asked them to take on that role for ten years after my wedding. “Hell no!” would be putting it mildly. Then there’s the whole basis for the relationship in the first place. The physical chemistry may be off the charts, but it’s no indicator that the guy or the woman of your dreams has a work ethic, or a healthy sense of spousal responsibility, or even wants children. Learning those things about another person takes time, and we all know our share of people who never show their true colours until the ink is barely dry on the marriage certificate, or quite often many years later.

At the same time, it’s important to acknowledge the impact of loneliness on a person’s overall health and well-being. A former Surgeon General of the U.S. backs the claim that chronic loneliness is as damaging as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, making it even more dangerous than obesity. It’s sobering stuff.

I don’t have a crystal ball and I couldn’t tell you which of the couples on the current season of 90-Day Fiancé will get their happy ending. I can’t fault Annie for her dislike of living in a storage unit. I’d be super-pissed if I was Chantel and found out that my husband was sending money that should be supporting us back to his home country so that his mother and sister get to have a better life than we do. A rocky relationship is a thousand times worse when there are children involved; the negative impact on them goes without saying. Nicole encouraging her toddler daughter to call Azan “Daddy” when he fundamentally isn’t her father sets my hair on edge, especially when you consider that the adults have behaved badly towards each other and frankly Nicole seems to want the relationship more than Azan does.

Okay okay, I’m hopping off my soap box now.

What have you or a loved one done in pursuit of love? Feel free to post a comment (the usual rules of civility apply, please and thanks).