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.

Disney World Vacation – Day 2 – Magic Kingdom Start

Joe and the boyz stand at the entrance to Disney World's Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Florida
We had arrived at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom! I had to hold onto the backpack of The-Youngest to keep him from running off!

By the time we had arrived at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, everyone had forgotten that it was 6am our time and that we had slept maybe 8 hours in two days. We were here!

It took a bit of time to walk from the buses to the security check. It took a bit of time to line up, then have our bags checked and walk through a metal detector. It took a bit of time to line up, again, to get into the park.

But by 9:15, we were in!

But, as I looked over at The-Youngest, I realized we’d made a terrible error. No, not the sunscreen that made him look as shiny as an oily nickel… no… he didn’t have a hat or a siren or a sparkler on top of his head so we could find him in a crowd!

Good lord, he’d blend in with anything. Grass. Mike Wazowski . Thin air.

It would be hell keeping track of him. Like me, like Dug the Dog from Up, he tended to see something (“Squirrel!”) and runoff. I think between the The-Youngest and me, we’ve given The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World a permanent frown wrinkle on her forehead.

But standing inside the gates to the Magic Kingdom was, well, magical. In the distance, Cinderella’s castle, set against the bright sun and blue sky, looking like something out of faerie tale. (Wait, it IS out of a faerie tale!) Leading to the castle, Main Street, the buildings quaint with a New England theme. And in front of us, the entrance building, a garden full of flowers that make up a Mickey Mouse face, and, at our feet, ‘The Magic Kingdom’ in stones.

And, adding to the wonder, cast members wandering around in full costume or as Disney characters.

No question, Magic Kingdom was a sight, a proper introduction to Disney World.

We embraced the magic.

There were rides at Adventureland and Tomorrowland and Frontierland, and Fantasyland, there was Mainstreet and Liberty square to shop in, and there were donuts and Mickey cookies to eat and… and… and…. so much more!

Did we run off to see the sights? To ride the rides? To give Mickey a hug? No, we rushed to take a picture.

Now you can get a picture pass thingee, but at $250US, we decided to take our own pictures. But set up in all the BEST spots are the Disney photographers. Being Canadian, we didn’t jump into those spots, but shot as best we could, The-Youngest and I bouncing around like pinballs looking for neat shots.

The boys walking into a misting station at Magic Kingdom, Disney World, Orlando, FLorida
I love this picture of the boyz in the mist! Always keep cool in the summer at Disney World, let me tell you!

But we had a 9:15 Fastpass appointment to Space Mountain since I didn’t quite understand how they worked, we raced off to go on the ride, the boys slowing only to run through a water mister, again and again, and again. Space Mountain was the first part of our plan.

Now, being old, neither The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World or I needed to go on the ride, so the boys rode it together, but without us. They had a blast! That ride, in the dark, scary as hell, was the best way to start the adventure. While they rode, The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World bought a purple Magic Band (we all had basic ones that allowed us to ride the rides, pay for stuff and look like we belonged.)

When the boyz got back, the line-ups were still light for nearly every ride! So, we raced off to the next ride, the MUST-DO ride, Buzz Lightyear’s Spin.

Now, this is pure, silly fun. While waiting in the line, we looked at all the Buzz paraphernalia. It’s something Disney does so well, making it interesting to be in a line! (though later there’s a blog on what they DON’T DO so well.) Then we boarded our ships and fought off evil aliens by blasting them with, you know, blasters.

The-Youngest, having watched every YouTube video ever made on Disney World, knew what to hit for the most points and he killed us all with 138,000 to the next best, mine, at 68,500. I think The-Oldest got a score of 1,500 due to the fact he spent most of his time shooting his brother. With a laser. In the face.

The only reason The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World didn’t get the high score (and these are her words) “Is because my partner kept hitting the spin button on the spinner just as I was about to shoot.” That partner was, The-Youngest and, yes, that was part of his strategy!

We all had awesome fun!

By the time we left, the lines had begun to form at the best rides. We chose the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover. Not the most exciting ride, sure, but it took us through Tomorrowland and gave us time to discuss what to do next.

In hindsight, we could have done the whole ‘Fastpass thing’ better. (There’s a blog coming on that, too!) but there were still rides that had smaller lines, and it was only 10:30. Lots and lots and lots of time to do some amazing things.

But ‘wanting to do’ and ‘being able to do’ are two very different things.

The bad-asses with newly bought sunglasses at Future World in the Magic Kingdom, Disney World.

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Driving Mr. Daisy

What The-Oldest is thinking.

One of the great events in our early lives is learning to drive. Driving equals independence. It’s a milestone in life.

And it’s something that can drive parents crazy.

It’s all because we think, gosh, we can teach our child to drive. We’re good drivers, right? We’ve been doing it for years, right? We love our child so we will teach him with patience and understanding how to drive a car, right? Right?

Oh, how we forget what it was like when we learned to drive.

I remember being so excited about driving that when I turned 16, I immediately went down to get my licence and began bugging mom to teach me to drive. However, this was back in the Flintstone era when there weren’t such things as L’s or N’s or seatbelts or internal combustion engines.

However, I learned quickly, as did my mom, that she should not be teaching me. Not that she was a bad driver per se, but more like one of us would end up having a nervous breakdown. Speed up, slow down, hand over hand, check the rear view mirror, shoulder check, look out for that little old lady crossing the street! Look  out! Hit the breaks!!!!! Ok, find a phone and call an ambulance.

Now, did I remember any of this?

No. It all faded into the background of my mind when I offered to take The-Oldest for his first drive. I have to confess, I was super excited. He was super nervous.

The plan was simple. We’d take out the Rav4 and drive around the local theater parking lot. It’s a nice safe place and likely would be empty at 3pm on a Monday afternoon.

The-Oldest started off well enough. He quickly got over the whole go-cart way of driving (using his left foot for the break) and began to learn how far to push down on the gas to go, then how hard to press the break so as to actually stop the car and not send his favourite stepdad flying through the windshield.

But then things took a turn.

There was no reason that the parking lot shouldn’t have been empty, but the moment he put his foot on the gas, someone pulled into the center of the parking lot and took out their little 2-year-old who went charging around like she wanted to be hit by an overwhelmed sixteen-year-old. Then, another car arrived and parked on the edge and just sat there, the driver and passenger smoking and basically acting like THEY wanted to be t-boned by an overwhelmed sixteen-year-old.

If that wasn’t bad enough, someone else decided it would be nice to teach their son how to drive in the same lot.

What had been a great idea, (you know, find empty lot, train boy to drive) became avoid running over 2-year-old, don’t hit the couple doing, ah something, in the car, and please avoid ramming into that white-knuckled, pimply-faced boy with a terrified-looking mom in the front seat.


Well, it was, actually. Fun, I mean. The-Oldest got used to the pedals, he learned to break and steer, he took WIDE turns to avoid cars, curbs and 2-year-olds, and he even managed to back up without running over anyone or anything (more than I can say most times.)

He did amazing. Sure he started out looking like we were about to make him do a public speech about girl’s anatomy, but he ended up confidently parking between the lines (again, something I can’t often do.) He was proud of himself and he began to feel like he could totally learn this whole driving thing. I know this because he said, “I can totally learn this whole driving thing.”

Parenting win! A win for The-Oldest!

Next up, we’ll see if he can drive in some lanes around that parking lot.

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The Piano Man

Well, we survived the wedding, had a blast on the honeymoon, but now it’s time for real life. And something special for you-all.

Time for hockey, you ask.

Sure. That’ll come.

Time for tales about school?

You bet, but that’ll have to wait.

In the meantime, please check out The-Oldest’s latest video. Remember, he’s only been that this since April. 🙂 I wish he’d shown his fingers at work, but whatever, it’s still awesome playing.


Striking Out – Scorekeeping 101

No one gets me like the Simpsons.
No one gets me like the Simpsons.

As I get older and older, I believe less and less in trying new things. I have to fight hard to get out of my comfy-cozy fortress of solitude (like Superman’s fortress only less ice and more big screen TVs).

But once again, I’m going to try something new.

I decided it would be good to volunteer to be a baseball scorekeeper.

See, after hockey ended, the-Youngest decided to try something new, too. So I decided that I hadn’t had enough torture after being the hockey team treasurer and signed up.

I thought I was being all kinds of clever. In my day, it was pretty simple. The pretty red-haired girl would put up the numbers on the board and smile at me. No wonder I took so many balls in the face. Oh sure I was a catcher, but I was also easily distracted by a pretty girl smiling at me. Still am.

But that was it. We scored a run, and the pretty-red-haired-girl would put it up on the scoreboard. The umpires kept track of the strikes and balls and, I think, secretly, how many balls to the face I took. They shouted a lot and told us who was out (and for me to stop shouting ‘swing batter, batter, batter, swing!’.

I assumed it would be the same only with less pretty red-haired girls and more electronics.

My first clue should have been how all the other dads looked at the grass or stared up at imaginary stars and whistled to themselves when the coach asked, who wants to scorekeep?

When no one leapt at the chance, he looked at his clipboard and said a couple of families had volunteered to be scorekeepers. Ours being one of them.

I corrected him on this point. The sign up website would not let you sign up unless you chose some sort of volunteer work, the sneaky bastards. So, the Prettiest-girl-in-the-world chose score-keeping. I suspect for the same reason I did (minus the red-head).

But that being said, I’d give it a whirl. How hard could it be?


F…ing hard as it turns out.

Apparently little league is now like the majors. It’s up to the scorekeepers to record EVERYTHING.

I went to the meeting where they said they’d teach you all you needed to know about score-keeping. It reminded me of a test I took in Business school, where I didn’t understand a flipping thing and got 12% in the test. It was my first failing mark ever and it traumatized me forever.

So when they began to explain how to record a hit, then an error, then a pitcher’s ball, which I think is a kind of error, and a forced play, which I had no idea what the hell that is, and a double play with a sacrifice fly, my hands began to shake, my eye twitched and I broke out in a full body sweat.

A churro dog? OMG why I have not found this and eaten 10?
A churro dog? OMG why I have not found this and eaten 10?

See, I’m not a big baseball fan and the few games I’ve been to, I’ve spent more time finding where the churro vendor is than figuring out how to properly score the game.

Now, don’t get me wrong, the basics are kind of easy. The pitcher throws the baseball. A strike or a ball. I record that. If the batter hits it, I record that as well. It’s when other stuff starts to happen or things that only people with heads full of baseball knowledge understand start to occur, that I get all confused.

Basically, it’s when a whole ton of things happen at once. It’s that hit that gets dropped, then someone throws to second who misses the ball and the runner heading to third decides to go home while the pitcher rushes to get the missed ball and somebody in the stands is shouting, throw to 3rd dammit and in the distance a plane is roaring overhead and my phone is ringing and I need to pee.

How do you record all of that, cuz I’m pretty sure I have to?

As I left the scorekeeping meeting needing a drink, it occurred to me that the reason baseball is akin to watching a glacier melt is because the scorekeeping could take forever. At least with all the erasing I’ll have to do.

My brain just bled a little even looking at this.
My brain just bled a little even looking at this.

If you doubt how confusing score-keeping can be, look at that sheet. It’s now important to know errors. What’s an error in little league? From what I saw at the meet-and-greet game, pretty much every play has one error or another. Many plays seem to have about 20. With one hit.

Then there’s all the odd stuff that can happen, like a forced play on a Tuesday when there’s a full moon and a left handed batter with a hunchback. I think there’s some sort of code for all of that. And I have to record it.

And here I thought being the treasurer was a bit on the challenging side. It doesn’t even come close. I came home from the meeting completely disheartened. This will be absolutely at my limit of my well-padded comfort zone. Like telling someone to take over flying a helicopter while the pilot jumps out the door.

I can just imagine the first game.

“So,” says the other team’s scorekeeper, “I score that inning 14-4 with 17 unforced errors, and three fielder’s choice outs, two forced plays and one wiggle-dee-diggle-dee-do. What did you get?”

“A migraine.” My score sheet says 1 hit, 3 balls, and scribblings about a pizza order.

I pray it won’t be as bad as I fear, but looking at that sheet, not knowing all the codes and having to see everything and understand baseball like someone who, you know understands baseball, may be a disaster in the making.