Simple Pleasures of the First World

best things in life
best things in life
So many things that are great in life.

Ok, let’s face it, the world still kinda sucks. Omicron. Looming war. Only 6 episodes of The Expanse, season 6…

So, I thought I’d look in the other direction- a look at the good things.

Now, I get that I live a very privileged life in a very privileged part of the world, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be grateful for some of life’s simple pleasures.

Here are my top 10.

    1. A brand-new razor blade. Oh, the joy of how it glides over my skin and scythes down my feeble beard-like growths like it was a lightsaber. More blood, sure, but pure joy nonetheless.
    2. A cup of coffee at the perfect temperature. Too hot, and it burns. Too cool, and it’s like drinking coffee-flavoured milk that’s been out in the sun too long. Drinking that coffee at the perfect moment feels like I’ve ignited a heating coil in my throat that warms me all the way to my stomach, then, seconds later, the caffeine soars through my bloodstream like a jolt of pure joy. I imagine heroin is like this, which is why I’ve never tried it.
    3. A perfectly full dishwasher. All the dishes are in the right place, no space wasted, nothing left to rattle around. Sadly, I am the only one in the world with this amazing skill.
    4. Finding my keys in the same place I thought I’d left them. See, they tend to wander around when left alone, so it’s nice to see that they sometimes stay put. A bad day is when those keys are unfindable, my wallet is lost, and for some reason, I have misplaced my shoes.
    5. Crunching frosted grass under my feet. I know it’s another odd one, but it is so very satisfying to hear that sound and feel my foot sink into the semi-solid ground. So if you see me walking around my lawn on a frosty morning in my bathrobe and slippers, and giggling to myself, that’s why. Usually, anyway.
    6. Warm laundry on a cold day. If you’ve not put on warm jammies on a cold day, then, OMG, you’ve missed something. I imagine this is what happens in heaven or Bill Gates’ house (Here’s your warm PJs, Bill, now go buy up some more farmland so we can control food production.)
    7. The taco-smell of my dog’s feet. I know, I know, I could have gone with the smell of warm bread or fresh coffee or a new car or bacon, but as long as the Snoozadoodle has not stepped in poo or anything, that smell is oddly comforting. I suspect I was a dog in another life. A yappy, annoying one.
    8. Finding a good show. Honestly, finding one is rarer than finding an original, rocket-firing Boba Fett figure, so when I actually find something brilliant, I’m like a 3-year-old hopped up on Timbits watching Paw Patrol. It shouldn’t be so rare to find a show that creates a world I want to live in, that has a great villain, well-developed characters I love, powerful dialogue that sings, stunning visuals, epic the-heroes-cannot-win moments, near-perfect pacing, and scenes that will make me laugh or make me cry. The Expanse for me, this year. Dune, last year. Lord of the Rings, a billion years ago.
    9. A good sleep. I was going to say a good poo, (yes, I’m at that age, now), but man, a good night’s sleep is gold. Too often, as I get older and older, as all sorts of things sag and turn grey, I find it hard to sleep through the night. Stress, aches and pains, a need to pee (when I even dream of hunting for a place to pee), or the Snoozeadoodle hacking up a lung all combine to make it hard to have a good sleep. I can’t even imagine being a parent with a newborn.
    10. My family and friends. Sounds trite, right, but the truth is, having lost another good friend just before Christmas, I am grateful for the people still in my life, and for the experiences we share. In the end, life is less about happiness 24/7 and more about finding those rare moments of bliss and having people to share them with.

Thanks, as always, to everyone who takes the time to read this blog. It feels good to get back to writing. Plus, if I am ever to have a chance at getting published, I desperately need to get more people reading this blog.  So, weirdly enough, I need to write more.

However, please share if you like this content (or just want to punish your friends/family with something terrible) so I can continue to build my audience. 

 

 

 

 

 

Covid Cold 2022

omicron cookie monster

Is It A Cold?

omicron cookie monster
Nom nom.

There was a time, long ago, when people still believed in science, the media, and Disney that when you got a cold, it wasn’t a serious thing.

Now it’s a thing because, you know, it may be another thing.

See, it could be the new Covid variation – the deadly-sounding ‘Omicron variant.’ It has the exact same symptoms as a cold. The Covid numbers are insane because of the new, fun-loving mutation. In Canada, we are averaging 39,433 new cases a day.

However, those numbers are misleading because the high infection numbers have not equated into a high death count, thank Yoda, but those numbers have put stress on our healthcare system. Again.

Then, we all got a case of the sniffles.

In the old days, I’d just hunker down under a blanked, feel sorry for myself, and fill a garbage can with Kleenex as if I’m watching This Is Us. Meanwhile, The-Oldest would play his piano, The-Youngest would avoid school, and The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World would sanitize the house with the vigor of a Roomba hit by lightning (while listening to me complain about how terrible my man cold felt).

In the end, it was The-Youngest who got hammered the most.

Because of that, we had to take this seriously. We had to find a test kit, and The-Youngest had to stay home – which for him is like a junkie falling into a silo of cocaine. Sure he’s snotty and has a sore throat and we’re taking his temperature every 10 minutes, but being home means he can watch the Office for the 200th time.

Having used up the tests The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World got from work in late December, we had to book an appointment (which should be a lot easier but ends up being like booking an appointment with the Queen of England) and, worse, when we got to the testing site, well, they don’t actually do a test. Nope. They give us a test kit and told us to bugger off.

As well, we learned that we shouldn’t give The-Youngest the test until the third day of the symptoms. So, The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World had to assume the worst and book off work until we knew the results of the test.

Great. Just great.

Now, this is not a fun test, like say, one of those history tests that crop up on my phone. Oh, no. This one involves stuffing a swab up your nose (like super far up your nose), rubbing it around inside your brain, crying a bit, then counting to 15 before shifting it to another nostril.

When we had our first scare, back in December, both The-Oldest and I hopped up and down, tears streaming from our eyes as we whisked our brains. The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World, having birthed babies, dealt with migraines all her life, and played board games with us, was no stranger to pain and so took her test without flinching, crying or yelling “Is it 15 seconds yet????”

The-Youngest’s reaction was somewhere in between.

None of us tested positive.

And The-Youngest tested negative this time, too.

Whew!

Honestly, I’m not sure we’re going to dodge this variant. Omicron has infected about 50% of the people I know and infects the vaccinated and unvaccinated alike, though it does seem like the unvaccinated have more severe reactions.

However, there is some good news here.

My hope is that the next variant, which is pi, and you know I love pie, will be a milder version still. Sort of like drinking watered-down coffee or watching a CW show.

And once it becomes no more than a bad cold or mild flu, then maybe we can get back to normal.

I miss normal.

Here’s hoping 2022 will honor my request to be a better year.

 

 

 

 

What Would You Ask of 2022?

2022 resolutions

Dear 2022,

2022 resolutions
It’s a brand new year. Is there hope down that road?

I know you’ve just come into existence, but the 2020 line has been a failure as bad as Hair in a Can so I wanted to give you a heads-up that we’re expecting more from you. A lot more.

As you may know, I’m not keen on New Year’s resolutions for myself, but that does not stop me from making a great list for everyone else.

So here is the top 10 list of things I’m hoping you will do better, 2022.

  • No world war. I know this should be an easy one, but with China acting like a panda that wants to eat everyone else’s trees and Russia stomping around like a bear wanting to poop all over the Ukraine, this one isn’t a given.
  • No great depression – ok, no massive financial crisis in general. Oh, I know there are a lot of challenges with runaway inflation, the ongoing pandemic, and the fact no one wants to pay me $1,000,000 for my novel, but still, you can do this. Nice and easy, 2022. Nice and easy.
  • No new pandemic out of China. Gosh, maybe just keep an eye on China in general. We’re nearly through this Covid19, so the last thing we need is some bird virus leaking from a lab that mutates us all into zombies or Maple Leaf fans.
  • Let the pandemic become an endemic like the regular flu. Sure, your predecessors had fun with variations but don’t let that be you, 2022. Be strong. You don’t need the pandemic to have fun.
  • Stop buggering around with all the travel bans. I love traveling. It fills me up like an extra-large chocolate milkshake with a cherry on top. I had to cancel our 2022 trip to Maui and I would very much like to see that this is the last cancelation. Ever.
  • queen of england
    Come on, look at that face? Who could not love that face. And hat.

    Don’t kill off the Queen. It’s her 70th year as regent. Her platinum jubilee. I mean, hell, 2021 took Betty White from us, so give us a break. Also, The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World’s baba wants to live to 102 (she’s 98). Let’s make that happen, too.

  • Don’t cancel the World Cup. Of soccer. Or football. Or whatever you call it. There’s nothing like watching countries that hate each other battle it out without the use of nuclear weapons or overly harsh tweets. Oh, and if you’re really feeling up for something special, something almost impossible to do, have Scotland win.
  • No more rubbish weather. We had epic floods in the Sumas Valley, forest fires that raged out of control, and worse, snow that stopped me from taking my Mustang anywhere. Get your act together, 2022, enough is enough.
  • Don’t mess up Amazon’s Lord of the Rings. You know I have a bad feeling about this and if they ignore existing lore, mess with the elves or find a way to make us understand the trauma of the orcs so we will like them, then, I will find you, 2022, I will find you and make you pay.
  • Let me believe in my writing, again. After a year of rejections for my latest book, that belief has taken a serious beating. Wait, hold on, this one’s not really on you. This one’s on me. Just work on the other items, please.

As always, thank you to everyone who reads this blog. I will do a better job this year of getting more posts done, I promise. With luck, they’ll even be good posts – funny or insightful or simply entertaining. Please like or follow the blog on the website.

What would you ask of 2022?

 

Pandemic Oct 1st 2021 (Delayed Post) Another Scare

parenting meme
parenting meme
I don’t think anyone has a plan.

Long ago (well, actually two years ago), if one of our boys got sick with something like the flu, we’d keep him home, give him some Advil, and bring him some chicken soup while I quoted Churchill until he got better.

But we still have to worry that those same symptoms could be Covid despite us all being double vaxxed.

Gosh, I hate this Covid thing. I hate it like a three-year-old hates to be told they have to go to bed.

But with the government taking a good 5 days or more to report an outbreak of Covid in the schools, when we have one child with flu-like symptoms, (fever, chills, coughing, and overall looking like a zombie extra from the Walking Dead) it’s quarantine time, baby, quarantine time.

Again.

However, first of all, mad shout out to the parents who have made their own app called Exposure Watch. How cool is that? It’s still nice to know when government fails us so completely, people step up to help out their community.

Now, for anyone who read my pandemic blog (here) from the start will know, we’re kind of used to a quarantine. 

Since we were first caught off guard, we made a plan in case we had to go through this, again (and with the stupid Delta Variant, there was a good chance we would.)

Our plan was called –  The Omega Protocol (originally called Joe’s Incredibly Detailed and Super Amazing Survival Plan Made By Joe, but that got voted down).

It was time to put that plan into action.

Step 1. We went online to book a Covid test. Within 15 minutes we had an appointment. We needed to know if he had Covid.

That’s super cool. Gone were the days the doctors said, “Hey, sorry, no tests available, just stay at home and, you know, don’t die too much.”

So, The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World took her boy to the testing site about a half-hour later. He couldn’t do the swishy-mouth one due to a gag reflex but took the brain scrubbing one like a hero.

Then they told us it would take a day to know but if it was positive, we’d know as fast as they could do it. “And if it’s negative?”

Medical Professional, “That will take a lot longer but we will notify you.”

“Why not right away? I mean if you know it’s negative, seems like people would, you know, kinda like to know.”

“Don’t be difficult, sir. Quarantine until you know. Next, please.”

Ok. Right. Quarantine it is.

Step 2. We sent the boy to his room and banned his brother and I from even going near the room. Only one contact person was allowed in (aka his mom) and she would mask up anytime she entered the infected one’s room. 

Step 3. We wiped down the entire house for the billionth time since March of 2020 and obsessively checked temperatures every couple of hours

Step 4. Fed the boy chicken noodle soup, stale crackers, Gatorade, Advil and supplements like Zinc, vitamin D, and vitamin C (latest medical information here.) 

Step 5. The whole family took supplements. We waited it out.

It was the best we could do.

Until we knew, we’d all stay home, not go out, not pass go, not collect $200.

Being amazing, though, The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World didn’t take the whole “we’re not going to contact you unless you have a positive result” thing lying down. She looked deeper into how she could find the results faster.

Seems it’s a very Catch-22 thing. If she wanted to find out a test result, she could use her new and exciting BC Services app which records pretty much every pill she’s ever taken. Or she could go to the online health info site (for us, that would be Lifelabs / MyCareCompass), and find out the results there.

For a teenager, (and I get the world hates teenagers, but still…) they don’t have access to that information because they are too young to get said information. Well, that’s all fair and fine, you’d think the mom would have access to that. But no. All their medical information is locked away in a secret vault for privacy protection.

Now, I’m all for privacy protection, but how’s that going to help us get information on a test? If the boy couldn’t get it and his mom couldn’t get it, could someone like, I dunno, the doctor?

Nope, they, too, only get notified quickly if it’s positive.

It took a while for The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World to find a way to access that information that didn’t, you know, violate the law or anything, but she did.

In the meantime, while we waited for the results, the infected one didn’t come out of his room (a dream come true, I think), watched all the seasons of The Office on Netflix, and studiously ignored the homework he’d been given like someone ignoring an odd-looking mole on their back.

When The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World finally dug out the results – No Covid – we let out another sigh of relief. That new Delta Variant is a bugger, but it looked like we’d dodged it.

The boy was allowed to stay home to get better (I mean, hey, we didn’t want him infecting his classmates with regular flu either), but things got back to normal pretty quickly.

That’s the good news. No Covid here. Nothing to see.

The bad news, after nearly two years, they’re still fumbling around with communication. You’d think they’d have it nailed by now, like stuntmen working on making that jump across a canyon full of lava, but no, they continue to crash –  and burn in a very not-funny way.

I think I’m going to write a letter to someone. In my head. Yeah, that’ll do it.

 

 

10 Things You Need To Know To Vote (That You May Not Know)

voting in canada

Each time we have to vote, the government sends out something that tells us what we need. It’s only two things, really –  A voter card and some form of ID (and I’ve worked at the poll stations, so everyone tries very hard to find something that works).

However, there are a few things they don’t tell you.

Thatsa why I’m here.

1. You have to wear pants (or at least, something to cover your underwear or naughty bits). You might have to wear a shirt, too. Maybe shoes. Heck, it could be the whole ‘no pants, no shirt, no shoes.’ things, but I’d need a volunteer to test out that theory.

2. Unlike the blood bank, you don’t get a sticker, a cookie, or a small carton of apple juice. Personally, I think this is a mistake. Our reward for being good citizens (other than, you know, getting a government that works) is a nice feeling. Add a few donuts, a nice cup of coffee, or a Porsche, and you’d increase voting % by orders of magnitude. Heck, even the used car guys don’t have a sale without at least a big blow-up gorilla or something.

3. You have to mask up and social distance. It might say that on the voter ID card, but I forgot to check mine before handing it in. However, no vaccination ID is required.

4. Remember to take a breath mint if you’ve just had a cup of coffee or eaten pickled onions, or else you’re breathing your own horrible breath for a while.

5. You have to bring a cell phone or a book or something to do if you’re in line for a while. In the old days, you might chat with someone about the weather or if Sam was really the hero of Lord of the Rings, but now, with social distancing and masking-up, you’ll be on your own.

6. Be nice to the people behind the voting desk. Like I’ve said, I’ve been there, and it’s stressful. In other years, there were two people there to make sure everything was done right, but this year, it looks like there’s just one, and if they’re like me, they’re muttering don’t ‘f*ck up, don’t f*ck up, don’t f*ck up,’ inside their head a lot (and sweating like they’re at a job interview and first date at the same time).

7. Don’t wear squeaky shoes. You have to walk through a gym, and when there’s only you and your squeaky shoes, you sound like a window washer using no washer on a window.

8. Don’t bring your dog inside. I know this seems like a no-brainer, but why would you do that? Also, it turns out that you can’t leave your dog with the people in the front. However, adding a dog handler may also fall under the ‘how could they make the experience more rewarding?’ thingee.

9. You can’t bring snacks into the voting area. Again, it would help if you got some coming out, but I guess they don’t want crumbs on the floor, anyone slipping on spilled coffee, or people taking their masks off to eat a McMuffin.

10. Voting matters. I know it’s hard to believe sometimes. I know that the individual gets lost in the metadata that governs our world. I know you may think one vote doesn’t matter, but have you ever seen ants make a bridge? That bridge happens because a bunch of individuals get together and say, you know what, we can make a difference here. So, please, take the time to vote.

And that’s it from me. I voted and will write my MP about having coffee and cookies next time.

Pandemic Sept 11th 2021 – Cruise-in Car Show

A&W the drive-in days
aldergrove langley car cruise in
The Langley Good Times Cruise-in 2021

Keen to get out of the house, we decided to go see a car show.

Now there hasn’t been one for a while due to stupid Covid and all the rules and restrictions, but finally, in Aldergrove, they were able to organize the Langley Good Times Cruise-in.

How could we not go? There’d be hot rods (for the Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World), food trucks (for The-Youngest), and, err, ah, well nothing really for The-Oldest since we couldn’t find any classical orchestras playing there, but whatever, he’d surely have fun listening to me talk about Shelby and the 1968 Gran Prix. However, for me, I go for a different reason that I’ll explain a bit later.

Now, it’s not like the world has returned to normal. Not even close. However, let’s put aside the insanity of the world and instead, go to a different time. A time when fossil-fueled cars ruled the world like shiny dinosaurs.

This car show was, by far, the biggest we’d ever seen. 1200 cars set up along Fraser Highway from 272nd to 264th.

That’s one long route (plus all the side streets that were filled with fancy cars).

Sadly, there was rain, (ok, not hard rain – spitting rain), but we risked the downpour and headed out anyway.

Now, to be honest, I’m not the biggest car guy. I know that if I stick my key in the keyhole and turn it, the car will start. I can change a tire or the oil, and I can look at a light on my dashboard and say, man, I need to fix that.

But looking under the hood and being able to identify a 283-cid Turbo-Fire V8 with a four-barrel carburetor is beyond me.

That’s not to say I still don’t have fun, but my fun is different. Sure, I like shiny cars. I like Mustangs. I like the cars that jump up and down. I like the funny-looking ones. I like hearing the roar of a hot rod and the hum of a Ferrari, but more than that, I like the experience.

See, a car show is not like going to an art gallery. Not by a long shot. And that’s what I love.

There is a smell there. The acrid smell of burned rubber. The garage-smell of oil and exhaust. The familiar smell of old leather jackets reeking of cigarette smoke.

It’s something you can’t get anywhere else.

Then there are the people. The old guys standing proudly beside their automobiles, eager to explain where they found an original 1937 Ford model 78 door handle. I love the guy dressed in army gear showing off his WW2 jeep. I love the pros with matching jackets standing in tents protecting their ultra-expensive sports cars. I love the car club booths set up so car guys can talk about cars.

Sadly, I don’t usually go to those booths, though, since my conversation tends to be like this. “So, what kind of car would Gandalf have driven?”

Still, there was so much to love there.

There were the bands to see, rockers with long ZZ Top beards and raging guitars. There was Elvis singing with little kids. There were families all lounging behind their cars, taking in the day.

There was even a group set up on the street along the way out who had a sign that said, “burn rubber!” (which was hard to do since leaving was a traffic jam worthy of a good Canucks game) but they would raise a beer to anyone who did.

I think most of us had a good time. I know The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World did. She loves cars and car engine sounds and funny car horns and white-rimmed tires and cars with that funny paint that is different colors depending on how the light hits it.

For The-Youngest, well he got to talk about how Teslas could destroy all of these cars in a race. Over and over.

And The-Oldest? Well, I think the highlight was eating Mac and Cheese called Jurassic Pork.

Being me, I marveled at all the cool characters there, stopped to listen to conversations, took pictures of the coolest cars, and tried to engage The-Oldest. “Look at those hub caps, they look like plates!” or “What music would they have played in that ’67 convertible?” or “if you had to write a song about that car, what would it be like?”

I doubt I made the experience any better for him, however.

My favourite car, you ask, was actually a truck. A bulldog truck. Tall. Super short front end. Super. Short. And kinda brown. It reminded me of Mater from Cars.

Hey, I like Mater!

A&W the drive-in daysThe best display, though, was an A&W one. The picture does more justice than my words ever could.

So, with luck, we’ll be able to go to more of these events in the future as the world returns to normal, even if it’s a Salvador Dali version of normal.

And thanks to everyone who reads, comments, or otherwise looks at this blog. If you like what you see, please follow the blog and/or like-share on FB.

Something bigger is coming in the very near future. Stay tuned.

 

Pandemic Aug 30th, 2021 – What to do?

Matthew McConaughey
Matthew McConaughey
All right, all right, all right.

Shouldn’t the pandemic be over?

Nope, it keeps going on and on and on like some bad four-hour director’s cut of Blade Runner.

So, what do we do now?

Well, it’s time for me to channel the great philosophers like Socrates, Gandhi, and Dave Berry to answer that question.

First, where are we in the world?

In the US, the Biden administration’s withdrawal from Afghanistan was so horrifically f’d up, that it made the Vietnam withdrawal look like a well-organized Bob Hope Christmas show. Meanwhile, Australia has a 0 tolerance lockdown that makes North Korea say, “Oi, mate, that’s a bit much, isn’t it?” And, in Canada, we have an election no one asked for and no one wanted.

Super fun times.

Locally, after nearly two months of BC burning, the fires and evacuation orders are ticking down. Finally, some good news!.

Our government, though, after implementing restrictions on the unvaccinated, advised people to call the police if they have a confrontational person in your store or bar or dog spa. Totally doable if we properly fund the police, but it’s like asking the firefighters to fight a dozen fires with just one dude from their calendar who looks great with his shirt off.

It feels like too many people are doing what they feel is right, rather than what might actually be scientifically right… or heck, just using simple common sense. Sort of like me thinking I can breathe in space because I saw Bugs Bunny do it.

Which leads back to me. As do all things, really.

The more I think about this, the more I think thinking has become viewed as a bad thing in our society.

Ok, sure, thinking too much led to the atomic bomb. Thinking too much led to censoring ideas we don’t like. Thinking too much led to wide-ranging conspiracies theories like 9-11 was ordered by George Bush, there are parasites in the vaccines, or the world is flat, or square or rides on the back of a turtle led by Elvis.

But what do we do if we don’t think at all? Rely on feelings?

That’s even worse.

Feelings ignore facts the way I ignore yellow lights. Feelings lead to fear and fear leads to hate and hate leads to becoming Darth Vader.

Feelings ignore doing what might be in the common good.

So, what do we do if we can’t overthink things, and can’t rely on our feelings?

What else is there?

Wait, wait, I know this!

Hold on.

We discuss and listen, not to be right, but to understand.

I mean, hey, Matthew McConaughey learned this while listening to two men talking in a bar, and when he took a side, one said, “It is not about right or wrong. It is about ‘Do you understand?!’”

Cool right?

By listening, we can discover why people are afraid of something like the vaccine. By accepting they are afraid, rightly or wrongly, we can offer support and advise them, and maybe sneak in a fact or two.

By not having to be right, maybe, just maybe we can come to understand that they want the same things – to be safe, to be free, to live a life without constant fear.

By understanding, we may just slow the hate a bit and that’s a good goal, right. No need to post nasty hate on Facebook or spread intolerance, hate, and misinformation on Twitter so those companies can sell more advertising, but instead phone a family member and see how they’re doing, text a friend and set up a tea date, write an email to someone who inspired you to be a better person.

Cavlin and Hobbs love
Just be nice

To get through this, overthinking isn’t going to help. Listening too much to your feelings isn’t going to help. Being the best person you can be in these times, well, that kinda is.

Now I have to run. Matthew McConaughey and I are going to discuss the nature of the wind because, you know, it’s harder to talk to Gandhi and Socrates about stuff.

 

 

Will You Miss Anything About the Pandemic?

July 4th, 2021

Is the pandemic over?

You know what, it kinda seems like it is, so let’s see where we’re at.

Can we travel in BC? Yup.

Do we have to wear masks? Nope, but it’s SUGGESTED we do, which is kind of like suggesting we exercise regularly or eat more broccoli (which is to say, I see that whole ‘wearing mask’ thing slipping badly.)

Can we eat in a restaurant? Yuppers. Have at it.

Can we go to a movie? Hell, yeah! We went and saw the new Guy Ritchie movie, which was underwhelming but did feature a bucket of buttery popcorn (and for The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World, Jason Statham).

Have we all had a second shot? Errr, ah, not so much. Some don’t even want the first shot. Even if they are offered a free lottery ticket.

Are people still getting Covid? Yup. Plus, there’s a new variant out there. Delta. It’s kicking people’s butt in the UK and India.

Are people still dying from Covid? Seven-day average in Canada is 20. Here. So, yes, but the numbers are not bad. Not bad at all.

So I guess it’s difficult to say the pandemic is over, as we have only reached stage 3 of a 5 stage reset model. (Stages here.)

But finally being done with Covid got me a-thinking.

Would I actually miss anything about the pandemic?

And, you know what? I came up with a top 5 list.

  1. I sorta liked the social distancing thing. I would like that to continue, please.
  2. I loved having arrows on the store aisles. Oh, the order, the disciplined flow of the crowd, the beauty of the human race all going in one direction. Gosh, I will miss that.
  3. I will miss having the pandemic as an excuse for super bad eating, not exercising, and binge-watching Love, Death, and Robots.
  4. I will hate not being able to take the dog for a walk in my PJ bottoms, bunny slippers, and cat-eared toque. Already I see a sad lack of people in sweat pants and headbands.
  5. I will miss being super judgemental about everything anyone does. No mask, no vaccine, walking down the aisle the wrong way, buying 2 rolls of toilet paper when the freaking sign said one per customer… Oh, the list is long and detailed.

Wait, hold on, do I really have to give up being judgemental?

Anyway, I hope that everyone is getting back to a sense of normal, perhaps hugging that grandma (or grandchild) you haven’t seen, perhaps getting on a ferry and visiting friends, perhaps playing D&D or going to see a movie.

Much of our old life is returning, and that makes me happy.

Returning to Normal – Pandemic Sept 4th 2020

masking the world

Returning to Normal – Pandemic Sept 4th 2020

The older I get, the more surprised I am that I haven’t actually seen everything.

If I had to make a list of signs that we’re getting back to normal, at the top of the list would be going back to school, The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World returning to work, seeing a movie in a theater, and being able to fly off to Italy and eat Mama Linguini’s pasta on a Venice canal.

Sadly, one of those things is still not really possible, but the others, well, yes, they are totally doable now (with restrictions, of course.)

But first, let’s look at the world: The stock market has almost returned to pre-Covid days, oil is back around $42, the price of gas is 1.29-ish, housing prices have rebounded, and they are selling here for over asking price.

WTF?

As well, all grocery stores are open, but disinfecting wipes are still hard to find. Finding hand sanitizer, TP, and Kleenex, however, is no longer an issue, the Canucks are playing hockey again, and Anheuser-Busch’s dog beer has sold out.

All signs that things continue to move towards normal. Or abnormal depending on your thoughts on the whole ‘dog beer’ thing.

However, in the super-cool department, a supercomputer may have figured out how the super-nasty Covid works. Here.

Ok, so that’s all fair and fine, right, but why does this matter? It matters because if they’re right, Covid unleashes a bradykinin storm (which is better explained here), AND we have about a dozen meds to deal with such a storm.

How cool is that?

Sure it’s not a vaccine, but dropping the death rate would be kinda cool. You gotta love computers.

More locally, and with fewer supercomputers doing our thinking, it looks like school is a go for next week. I’m sure it’s different for everyone, like a case of shingles, but there are a variety of options, which are not particularly well explained, again, like shingles.

There’s homeschooling, which I would love, but would only teach them history since I totally don’t get math, science, woodworking, or sex education.

The next step towards actual schooling is Distributed Learning, which is basically online schooling. Sounds like a good option until you realize that your child will not necessarily be able to have the teachers from his school do the teaching, wouldn’t have all the electives available and would have to be at home bugging you about the bradykinin hypothesis.

Then there’s what’s called Blended Learning, which is like making a cool milkshake then mixing in something that’s sat in your fridge for 9 months.

Basically, it’s school for a few days, then assignments are assigned, then the kids go home to work on them for 2-3 days. For some reason, the belief is that kids will stick with their bubble-groups, not rush out to play or talk with friends in the schoolyard, always wear masks and practice social distancing, and, oh yeah, believe in the Easter Bunny.

Then there’s what we are doing at The-Youngest’s high school, which is … school basically as normal. Full time all the time, and please forget what the province or the school district is putting out.

A lot of teachers are quite scared about this approach, not that I blame them in the least, and hearing some of their stories, like classrooms without proper protective supplies and lack of leadership on how to do all of this, I am a little worried for them as well.

So it looks The-Youngest will be back to school where he can see his friends, again, get positive reinforcement from his teachers for being a great student, and have his ass-kicked by a gym teacher, telling him not to slack-ass those situps.

It’s not perfect, no, but I know the teachers will do their absolute best.

And then there are the movie theaters.

Tenet – One of the most complex and mind-bending movies I have ever seen

Yes, The-Oldest and I braved a movie theater. We saw Tenet in the IMAX with about 20 odd people.

Now, that IMAX theater is HUGE, but they only sold about two dozen tickets, or so so we had a TON of spacing between the seats. Honestly, I felt safer there than in the crowded aisles of our local Save-On where someone is taking off their mask to sneeze onto the Campbell soups.

So, little by little, we’re returning to normal. We’ve gone on a staycation, we got our haircut, we took a BC ferry, and The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World returned to work, which was both terrifying and exciting.

More on that tomorrow.

In the meantime, stay safe, stay healthy, and respect the new world (yes, I’m looking at you boomers who yell at staff for having to enforce rules set out by the government.)

Adulting

Composer. Pianist. Budding adult

Growing up is seriously overrated, in my opinion, but The-Oldest took on some serious adulting this weekend – He had his first college/university audition.

For 3 hours, he would take a series of tests, do performances and be grilled about his skills, weaknesses and musical knowledge. Honestly, I don’t know who was more nervous. Him? Me or his mom, AKA The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World?

I mean, this was some important sh*t. Failure would mean they wouldn’t accept his application and he’d have to try out for another school.  Not that there weren’t other schools, but this one was close to us so he wouldn’t have to spend Ghana’s national budget on room and board, and he already knew some of the professors there. In other words, it was his first choice.

Heck, even making that choice was part of the whole nasty ‘adulting’ thing. The choices can be overwhelming. All have different versions of the same programs, but they all seem to specialize a bit more in one or the other. For example, one may not have any technology classes that would teach you how to be a music producer, but they have extensive classes on musical theory.

Then there’s the school’s reputation. If I was 17, again, I would probably over-research this and drive myself insane, but The-Oldest and his mom were more practical, reading up on reputations, but not being driven by them. It made no sense to go to some place that was iffy, but who’s to say what was really the best?

And, lastly, there was the whole how-far-will-his-money-go thing? Post-secondary education is massively expensive, far more so than when I went to school. Colleges offer a nifty alternative to the outrageous fees. Take 2 years of college for a lesser cost, then transfer to the more prestigious universities.

So that’s what he chose.

Because we didn’t want to overwhelm him with parental company, I stayed home while The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World took him to the college. I waited, chewing my nails off and wishing I could drink (but it was 11am),

He had the talent and the drive, for sure, but nerves are a funny thing and if they got the best of him, it would be a disaster. Professor: “So, tell me what you like about the piano?”

Him: “Liszt wore wigs.”

“Right. Yes. I’m sure he did. About the piano.”

“Oh, no, I didn’t mean to talk about wigs, oh boy, no, not that there’s anything wrong with wigs, I mean, you there, you could use one being bald and all, but not that there’s anything wrong with being bald, I think I’ll be bald sometime, but I don’t think I’ll wear a wig.”

But then I got the news. He had passed and passed with flying colors!

I actually bounced up and down with joy and relief.

They were so impressed with his ability, his talent and his attitude. They said he was at a 3rd year university level and could probably get into any school he wanted! His technique on piano could be worked on if he took more piano courses, but his ear and his ability to understand music on a very high level were outstanding.

When he told them what interested him the most, composition and music production, they thought that was an amazing choice for him with the skill-set and talent that he had demonstrated. When they found out he’d only being doing this for 4 years, they were flabbergasted. No, wait, gobsmacked. Yes, gobsmacked, and praised what was clearly a gift.

He came home a completely different person – happy, chatty, and full of hope. But the most important thing he said to us was that he felt comfortable there. “They are my people! No one talked to each other, they all looked massively awkward and all they want to do is play music. I’m going to fit right in!”

And so he will.

Growing up is hard to do

He had said that grade 12 would be his best year ever, but I believe that his couple of years in college and university will be even more amazing. Imagine being able to learn about what you love, do what you love, chat about what you love with people that are equally nerdy and awkward? It would be like me going to D&D school.

I know he’ll love it and I know he’ll do amazing. He was born for this.

I am so very proud of the man he’s becoming and the adulting that he’s doing.

The Past and the Future

I treasure life’s unique experiences, especially those that come out of nowhere.

Last weekend, I had one of those experiences. I went to two parties on one weekend – one for our 96-year-old Baba and a first-year birthday party for my littlest niece. It was the past and the future all rolled into one weekend.

One of my favourite people in the world.

Baba first.

At 96, I can’t help but be amazed at the life Baba has lived.

Born in 1923.

Let’s think about THAT for a second.

To say it was a different time would be like saying the winters are a little cold in northern Saskatchewan.

Her mother and father were children of Ukrainian immigrants, simple farmers fleeing violent oppression, seeking cheap farming land in Canada. She grew up in a time where religion and community went hand-in-hand, through times when her family didn’t know if they’d have enough to eat over the winter, and in a home with no running water or Google (FYI, of the two, I think I could survive longer without water than the internet.)

She survived the Great Depression, all the sicknesses that took so many back then, and literally had to walk miles through blizzards to attend school. (And me, I complain if I have to walk to my car in the rain.)

So, imagine how the world has changed in her lifetime.

She saw how the world transformed after World War 2, from the rise of feminism, to the growth of suburbs, to the civil rights movement. She would have listened to the Beatles on the radio, watched men land on the moon on her black and white TV, and seen the ushering in of the computerized world.

For most of her life, she would have used a rotary phone, likely with an overly long spiral cord that risked strangling anyone who got in-between you and the phone. For most of her life, she would have gone to an actual store to shop, not Amazoned a blender or a book about bees. For most of her life, she would have had to rely on her memory to recall who was that actor who played that doctor on that show set during the Korean war, not simply spoken her request to the god-like Siri.

I could go on and on (and actually did, but edited this for brevity). This was a woman who not only lived through those times but refused to be confined by those times.

She never finished school, yet created architectural drawings for the church she helped build. While raising 4 children, she helped run a drive-in movie theatre (which I think is super cool). All of her life, even into her 70’s and 80’s, she organized and led her church women’s group, and worked in the kitchen cooking up legendary dinners at the Ukrainian Hall in Surrey.

She is a woman who has never slowed down, never given up, and always finds a way to contribute.

So, for her birthday, we all gathered to celebrate this amazing woman. Married at 16 to a man 8 years her senior, she had four children, who went on the have great lives and provide her with a boat-load of grandchildren who, in turn, brought forth many, many more great-grandchildren.

One of several tables full of family. Great Baba is at the head of the table.

Nearly all were able to come for her birthday. We sang, (poorly,), laughed loudly, watched a slide show of her life with her family, and cried with her as she thanked everyone for their love.

Personally, I love spending time with her, listening to her stories, hearing her history and shaking my head in wonder at someone who has been through so much, remains so positive, so productive and still so funny.

She is an inspiration.

Tomorrow, the future.

Hockey Challenges 2019

First hockey tournament win
goalie bantam
The-Youngest readies himself for a Canuck-like season

I thought last year would be, you know, the last year of hockey. However, The-Youngest decided to play another year. As goalie. In the Bantam league.

At this point in boys’ hockey, the field is narrowing.

More and more boys drop out because of the demands of school, other extracurricular activities, and the biggest killer of having time to play hockey, girls.

Luckily, none of those things apply to The-Youngest. Yet.

Now, had we agreed to drive The-Youngest up to a mountain every weekend and twice on the weekdays, he may have declined hockey, since his real love is mountain biking and skiing.

But apart from the driving time, the cost of gas and ski passes and rental gear, despite the cold and the lift rides and all the falling, the simple fact is we’d have to do it with him and since I haven’t skied in 30 years and would likely break something (other than my ego).

I mean, if I had to get on the ice with The-Youngest and skate for 8 hours, we wouldn’t likely sign him up for hockey either. Add in a 90 min to drive there and another 90 to drive back, and, yeah, I can guarantee we wouldn’t be doing hockey.

But after last year, after an amazing hockey year, the-Youngest thought, why not?

So, we bought new gear since he’d done the silly thing of growing over the spring and summer, we signed him up for goalie camp (which was delightfully free!!!! Since they wanted to encourage young goalies), and we prepared for the duties of goalie parents.

Oh, sure there’d be early morning practices. Honestly, I never minded them at all.

Oh sure, we’d have to fork over money for tournaments and gifts for the coaches and bribes for the refs, (wait, no, sorry, no bribes, nope I never said that.)

Oh sure, we’d have to do something terrifying like scorekeeping or socializing (that latter very hard on an old introvert like me who knows nothing about how the Canucks are doing – though if I go with the old, they suck, I’m pretty safe).

It’s easy winning all the time. And fun. But what if that’s not how a season goes.

But it would all be worthwhile if The-Youngest has fun. Because, by having fun he would not only, you know, have fun, but continue to learn about teamwork, about sportsmanship and about trying your hardest. And with a good coaching team, he’d learn about being a good man as well.

This year, though, he will have another value tested.

Losing.

Last year, they were tournament champions twice and came second in the Langley Cup (beaten by a better team).

This year?

Well, 10-2 loss in the first game, and an 8-1 loss in the second.

On the plus side, unlike last year when I asked, how’d you do? and he said, “I got bored sometimes. I only had to stop 2 or 3 shots,” this year, he’s looking at 30+ shots each game, multiple rebounds he’s going to have to stop, and snipers who can rocket a shot over his shoulder when he’s in the butterfly position.

Now, being a writer, and a teller of stories, these are starts from which great legends are born. The underdog team, struggling at the beginning, somehow manages to come together and win the final game, learning about life, values and the importance of having a hidden superstar on the team like in Bad News Bears.

We’ll see what happens.

It’ll be …. Interesting. Stay tuned.

The Promised Vacation Blogs

Well, The Boyz are back in school, so it’s time to finish off the summer blog! Time for the blogs I promised…

The Morons

To be fair, I may be guilty of being a moron a couple of times.

One of the great challenges with visiting Disney World or Universal theme parks in the summer is the crowds.

Most people are super awesome, but with sooooooo many people, there can be a lot more morons. It’s basic math.

But rather than focus on them, why don’t we learn from them.

  1. For the love of God, don’t go the wrong way in a double stroller. See, there’s a flow to a river of people at theme parks, and when you’re on a narrow boardwalk or side street, it’s critical not just to try and plow your way against that tide like an ice breaker. It creates massive log jams. Duh. Instead, get back into the flow. People will let you into the flow, just re-enter it, don’t continue on like a blind hippo.
  2. Don’t litter even if you’re from NY. I get that it’s what you do in a lot of American cities, but resist the urge to slurp down your Mickey shake and then just drop it on the ground, splashing sticky Mickey milk everywhere.
  3. Why get angry at the security guards searching your backpack or stroller? It’s the world we live in and those folks aren’t in charge of policy but by god, you know they’ll be held accountable if some nutjob slips in with a bomb or an AR-15.
  4. If you need to clean up your baby, go to one of the many bathrooms, do not use one of the rides in a waterpark. I don’t think I will ever enter a wave pool again.
  5. When you’re told not to shout at the animals, please do not shout at the animals.
  6. If you decide not to go on a ride, please make that decision before you spend 30 min in line, then have to push your way past 10,000 people waiting in line. Yes, this was one of us. No names.
  7. Don’t punch or kick the characters. I get that Goofy looks like a goof but stop your kid from trying to kick him in the balls. Have a chat with your children ahead of time. “Son, daughter, wave at Darth Vader, don’t run up and hit him with your $200 lightsaber, ice cream cone or baby brother.”
  8. If you’re thinking of making a rude request of a character for a laugh, think, again, frat boy. Muriel will not sit on your lap. Why would you think that’s funny?
  9. The Disney or Universal characters are awesome but don’t stress them out with unreasonable requests, like looking after your child while you run to the bathroom.
  10. Line-ups at the food counters are crazy sometimes, so when you arrive at the counter, it’s kinda cool to have your order ready, not start by glancing up at the menu board, putting a hand to your chin, and going, hmmmm, what do you have to eat here, let me see, oh, mmm, a burger, but I don’t like burgers, I want a sandwich, but I don’t see a sandwich, wait, there’s one, but oh, can I get it without fries, yes, great, now little Johnny, Billy, princess Leia, uncle Herb, grandma Fettering, what do you guys want?

Honestly, most of this seems like common sense.

*****

The top 5 things that made The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World the most awesome person ever.

  1. She started to direct the people in the line-ups at the airport. See, people weren’t paying attention when airline staff became free, even when the staff were waving and shouting, “next!”, so she stepped up and pushed people towards the right counter (wait, ok, apparently ‘pushed’ is not accurate. Funny, but not accurate. “Influenced” may be a more appropriate word.)
  2. On the first day, when we were so soaked that water sloshed around in our underwear, she was the one who found a woman handing out towels. Now, we were all looking, with me in line at the front desk dripping puddles on the floor, but she found the towel woman. Props to Disney for even having one, but without her pretty eagle eyes, we would have dripped water like melting glaciers.
  3. On the buses, when it was crowded, she’d give up her seat for a mom with a little kid in her arms or an old grandma. Few others, – fit and healthy men included – did this. When did this curtesy disappear?
  4. When she found a phone (detailed here), she gave it to the hostess in the restaurant, which is cool, but when that hostess completely forgot about the phone, she marched up and reminded the girl, making sure the phone was returned to a very grateful grandma.
  5. This was not her style of vacation and yet she troopered through it, averaging 15-17,000 steps a day, dealing with the heat, carrying a backpack full of water, medical supplies and vats of sunscreen. She kept everyone’s spirits up in the Bataan death march that was the line-up for Thunder Mountain Railway, found the missing boys in the Blizzard Beach waterpark, gave Volanco Bay one last chance (that resulted in perhaps the best day ever), and put up with me going full-on nerd in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. She helped make this trip an epic adventure we will all remember for the rest of our lives. She’s the best mom, best wife, EVER!
Next vacation, Maui. I’ve sent the Rock a text asking him to meet us there.

Next vacation will be more to her liking. Maui. Beaches. Sparkling water. No line-ups. No schedules.

Oh, and The Rock . Thor. Jason Mamoa.

Day 8 The Last Hours of the Last Day

Like NASA, so much had to go right to make sure it all didn’t blow up in our faces.

We’d not seen everything there was to see at the Kennedy Space Center and (The-Youngest would like to point out), we didn’t do the only ride there (a shuttle launch simulation.)

But we had to get on the road. We were about ½ an hour behind what was already a tight schedule. To make it, we would need the luck of the Irish to catch our flight.

Basically, we had to have no problems on the road, no problems turning in the car, no problems at the check-in counter, and, lastly, no problems going through security.

Easy, right?

By the time we pulled out onto the highway, even I was stressed, and The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World kept checking her watch like a terrorist wearing a bomb vest about to go off.

I drove as fast as I could without being super crazy. The roads in Florida are Albertan in their straightness, and a huge hill in Florida is about the height of our car. So we made good progress and we blazed through the toll stations (not stopping to pay because we had a pass that captured our rental car’s license plate and we’d be charged later).

We made it to the airport at 4.

The first hurdle overcome!

Thanks to the superior navigating team of The-Youngest and The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World, we didn’t make any mistakes finding the rental-car parking lot. And, as we pulled in, someone came out immediately to check the car in. Alamo did a fantastic job speeding us through the process. A quick read of the mileage, a quick check for damage, and we were in the airport by 4:15.

Second hurdle overcome.

We found the counter for Alaska Airlines and, again, everything went smoothly, the woman behind the counter ensuring we found seats together – and even upgraded us to the comfy-seat section (not first-class but apparently the seats had more legroom.)

Third hurdle overcome!

It was about 4:45 when we reached the security line, a line as long as any in Disney World and with far less fun at the end (unless you enjoy your bags being scanned, opened, and your bottled water taken). Without slowing, we got in line and waited because, at that point, that’s all you can do. Passports were pulled from backpacks, water was thrown out, and The-Oldest kept his eye out for a piano.

It took a while to get through the various stations. Passport control (where I always look guilty of something for some reason), then the baggage check (where I always forget I left something in my carryon like suntan lotion) and finally the human scanner (where I have to enter, beltless, holding up my pants like a failed German general in Hitler’s kangaroo court).

But we played the lines like pro’s (and very un-Canadians), leaping into one that just opened up by the baggage scanners.

We’d cleared security by about 5:45.

We’d cleared our last hurdle with a good hour to spare.

Huzzah, I say, Huzzah!

Stress melting away, we ate in the food-court, looking like people with peanut allergies surviving eating 10 peanut butter sandwiches. Due to time constraints, this was the only meal we’d had since breakfast, 7 hours earlier.

As we boarded our plane, only one problem

remained. We had a tight turnaround for our connecting flight in Seattle. Everyone said it wouldn’t be a problem, but then everyone thought the new Star Wars movies would be awesome.

In the end, like any good story, it all worked out

But the luck of the Irish was indeed with us as we arrived at the Seattle Airport 20 mins ahead of schedule! I credit The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World (for using her mystic power to bend the world to her will.) I suspect she may have promised the dark gods a sacrifice of a chubby, nerdish husband, but that’s another story.

This story, however, ends well, with us arriving home at about 3am, very tired, very happy to sleep in our own beds. It had been a perfect end to an epic trip.

A final few blogs remain, blogs I’ve promised. Stay tuned!

Day 8 – The Day That Broke the Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World

NASA awaits!

Now you have to understand. The Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World is the most easy-going, fun-loving, goofy, giggly, accepting, loving, tolerant, patient, understanding, funny, and positive person I know.

But not by the end of this day, the Day That Broke the Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World.

In hindsight, we fell victim to one of the classic blunders, the most famous of which is “Never get involved in a land war in Asia,” but only slightly less well known is this: “Never go in against a Sicilian, when death is on the line!” Or, the much lesser know, trying to do too much in one day, especially with a need to be at an airport at a specific time.

See, we’d planned to get up, drive out to the Kennedy Space Center, on a Sunday, see all we could see, then, casually drive back, looking at all the lovely Floridian scenery.

The plan faulted at the start, with no one super keen to get up, eat and get on the road. So, instead of arriving there at 10, we got there at 12. Not a big deal, I thought. Our flight was at 7, and we had to be there about 5, so taking two hours to drive there, say 2 ½ to include parking and me taking the wrong exit off the freeway… that left, ah, wait, 12 minus 5, minus, uhm 2 ½, carry the two, errrrrhm, about 2 ½ hours there. Plenty of time, right?

Wrong.

But that time crunch was only a part of what broke The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World. That stress of having to do stuff quickly was bad enough, but all of the waiting in line had to be outside in the scorching heat of the Florida summer sun!

Plus, on a Sunday, in the middle of the day, the crowds were thick and nasty.

It began well enough as we raced (and The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World HATES racing) past the JFK Monument to the entrance, past all the cool rockets on display outside, to stand in line for the Heroes and Legends Museum. It was hot, and while it wasn’t humid, the heat cooked us like a turkey at thanksgiving.

In the line, I became Chatty-Joe for some reason and we talked with a nice, wheelchair-bound lady Floridian who was originally from Bawston, her accent still thick and delightful. We met two guys from Kentucky who were very outgoing and entertaining, and one fellow from California who seemed like a very nice young man. (Good lord, when did I get old????)

Inside, the museum was extremely well put-together but we moved through it like coffee through my colon. Pictures were taken, one plaque was read but I’m pretty sure The-Youngest fondled everything in the building. Twice.

By the time we left, it was 1ish. We had found out that the big tour, the one where you get on a bus and see the launch sites and the big Saturn rockets took about 45min. That was doable, since we would finish about 2, and needed to leave by 2:30.

So we got into line. We could do this, I said, perhaps blindingly optimistic, but while we stood in the heat, again, sweat running down my back, The-Youngest took this time to start acting up. I have no idea why. The-Oldest will stoically endure anything, but The-Youngest, the moment he gets his nose out of joint at something, he can be a bit of a challenge.

We almost called it at that point, but we’d stood in line for about 15 min and we had that weird choice where you invest a ton of time in something that abandoning it seems like a failure, yet other factors (the heat, the time stress and, now, The-Youngest) seemed to make leaving a good idea.

This is the moment that The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World broke. Unlike me when I break, there’s not a lot of swearing and stomping of feet, she just frowns and withdraws. Instead of her normal chatty self, she’s monosyllabic. Instead of having a cheerful air, she radiates murderous discontent.

Being me, I wanted to fix it, but I was way, way too late on that one. Like realizing I should have put on suntan lotion at 9am, not after 8 hours in the sun.

But she was still determined to see the rockets. We still had enough time, and the bus would have A/C.

The countdown to launch clock, or our clock as we ran out of time

At about 1:45, we got on the bus. 45 min to finish, that left us at 2:30. Tight, but we could still get to the plane on time.

The actual tour was fantastic, with a grumpy old bus driver taking us past the launch sites, the MASSIVE vehicle assembly building, and even an alligator lurking in the water. I took lots of pictures while The-Youngest came out of his funk and gaped at all the rockets.

It really is a fantastic tour and I would highly recommend it, and when the tour ended it, was 2:35.

Good, right?

No, because the tour didn’t end at the main site, (where our car was), oh, no, it ended in the building with the Saturn Rocket, and we had to take a bus to get back.

The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World, now in DESPERATE need of a bathroom, gave me a look that said, “if there’s a cliff, I’m pushing you off it,” but I was still hopeful. All we had to do was race through the building and get to the bus.

Only one problem! There was no direct route. We had to go through the space shows, normally very interesting histories of what happened or recreations of the space launches in the control room, but when you’re already behind schedule the inability to race through the damn place was super, super stressful.

However, after we cleared the first room, I went up and asked an attendant if we could just skip this and go through ‘that there door,’ like my life depended on a yes answer. She did say yes and we moved with astonishing speed through the building, ignoring astronaut memorials, cool suits to touch, and even another control room where it looked like we could control stuff.

By the incredibly huge Saturn rocket, The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World found a bathroom, but like all women’s bathrooms, there was a huge wait. Bouncing from foot to foot, she waited while a family of 10 decided to have a chat in one of the stalls, all the while our clock ticking down.

The-Boyz mugging it up on the ass-end of the Saturn Rocket. That rocket is HUGE!

While The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World nearly exploded waiting for a toilet, The Boys and I wandered around the Saturn rocket. Honestly, you wouldn’t believe how big that thing is, and looking at it, walking along its length, it hits home just how incredible this achievement was. Putting a man on the moon was one of the most epic moments in history and those going up into space risked their lives to accomplish something extraordinary.

When we finally took the bus ride back to the main site, ran through the space center like we were being chased by rabid dog zombies, and reached our car, it was 3:07. We were now seriously behind schedule and in danger of missing our flight.

Everything had to go our way not to make this one of the biggest traveling mistakes I’ve ever made.