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.


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.)

Trolls, Bad Choices and No Acme Anvils – Grand Canyon Day pt 1

Pink Jeep Tours, Grand Canyon, Arizona. Our goal for the day.
Pink Jeep Tours, Grand Canyon, Arizona. Our goal for the day.

Up at 5:30 am.

Why? It was Grand Canyon day and we needed to arrive by 8:30 am. We had a tour booked. Pink Jeep. The eastern side of the southern rim. Looked amazing.

No one was impressed at getting up so early. Boyz looked like death. The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World spent extra time in the bathroom getting all pretty-like.

As she did so, I went downstairs to have the front desk hold my backpack with my laptop. Normally, this encounter goes something like this. “Mind if I leave my laptop bag with you?”

“Why sure, sir, thank you for staying at our hotel, we’d be honored, nay, blessed, to look after that ratty-looking bag.”

Instead, when I asked if I could please leave my bag, I encountered one of the worst types of creatures on the planet.

The night shift guy.

Long, greasy hair. Thick glasses. Probably writes a lot of horror porn. “Why?” he asked like I had just asked him to give up masturbation.

“My laptop won’t fit in the safe,” I told him. Not that I wanted to put it there. Last night all that we put inside was nearly locked up forever.

He looked at me like deciding if he should use a hacksaw to cut up my body or dissolve me in acid. “What?”

I repeated my request. In my most polite Canadian tone.


The guy looked like Manson with glasses. Had I known he was on at night, I would have not slept.
The guy looked like Manson with glasses. Had I known he was on at night, I would have not slept.

He sighed, shook his head, then walked away.


He just walked away.

“So you’re taking it, yes?” I said. I may not have sounded so polite.

“I guess,” he said, cleared a spot on the counter, then took it.

He said nothing as I thanked him and I strode back to our room. Apparently, they only put the-very-pretty-young-Asian-girl-with-white-pants-who-couldn’t-have-been-nicer out at night. In the morning, they use trolls. Who need to bathe.

Despite our best efforts, by the time we hit the road, we were behind schedule. Google said we’d arrive right at 8:30.

The tour started at 8:30!!!

And that didn’t include any lost time due to traffic, me making a wrong turn or getting behind someone from Whiterock who drove 20kph under the speed limit.

So I did what I usually do when late. I made a series of bad choices.

First, we had to get gas. Now we should have gotten gas last night, but after all, that had happened, we were simply too exhausted. Maybe we could have made it, but maybe not and who wants to be stuck on a highway begging for someone in a pickup to put us in the back with the hogs so I can get gas at a gas station.

And because we were late, the pump wouldn’t take my card, and I had to go inside, and because we were late, there was a huge lineup, and then I had to guess how much gas and apparently, a lot is not an acceptable answer.

So, I made my best guess and was totally wrong since in the US they pay about as much for a tank of gas as we pay for tolls over a bridge, and so I had to get back into a lineup to correct my error. In the meantime, the Boyz and The-prettiest-girl-in-the-world had gotten lots of healthy snacks for the drive and tour. Plus lots of water.

Having paid, we sped off, my eye twitching with anxiety.

How did I miss the WRONG WAY signs???
How did I miss the WRONG WAY signs???

Then, I thought it might be fun to take a wrong turn and drive onto the highway.  Onto an exit. On a one way street.

The f-word may have been used. A lot. The swear jar was owed about $145.

But I managed to U-turn in the middle of the road and correct my navigational error. The good news was that, by now, EVERYONE was fully awake and wide-eyed.

I might even use the word terrified.

Then we had to get coffee, because even when you’re late, you need coffee. How else was I supposed to drive 50 miles over the speed limit, pass everyone, and avoid the wildlife on the road?

But about 1000 people had the same idea and we had yet another line-up to line-up.

See, the rules of being late specifically state that everything that can delay you further will delay you further.

But we got coffee, and I sped off like we were being chased by tough-looking bikers (who, spoiler alert, appear in a later story.)

The 2-hour drive could have been filled with lots of swearing and me passing trucks over a double-line on a blind hill (and, FYI, a Hyundai is not built for passing anything) but The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World saved the drive by phoning the tour company and seeing if we could book a tour an hour later.

No problem, they said, or if you get there in time, you could still take your original tour.

Stress melted away. My eye stopped twitching. And I enjoyed the drive up, the area not like the Vegas desert but filled with pines and cedars (or as I later learned, not cedars, juniper trees), and green grass and cows and the occasional deer darting in front of us.

Roadrunner! Meep-meep. The coyote’s after you

The Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World pipped with delight when she saw a road runner whiz by in front of us. Disappointingly, no coyotes or Acme anvils followed.

And without incident, accident or breakdowns, we made it to the canyon. At 8:15. I made epic time.

Our tour awaited!