Random

Days like these

I have absolutely no reason to declare boredom.

The kids are home and “distance learning”; while they zoom and do their work, I zoom and do mine. There’s no shortage of either. The weather is good, bikes and trails beckon, even when motivation wanes. Chores and the minutiae of daily life goes on.

And yet, yesterday I was bored to tears… by 7:46am.

I know full well that I’m one of the lucky ones, so it feels a little bit awful admitting that.

Thankfully, I know that a lot of my friends feel the same way, so when it feels like I am losing my marbles, I’m really not. Usually.

For once, I’m normal!

We’re going on, what, 7 weeks? 8? of living the pandemic life. The novelty has well and truly worn off. Yet, in all honesty, other than a whole lot of family togetherness, life in our little community bubble feels much the same. The global news cycle remains exhausting. Who can keep up? Quite frankly, who wants to? In the bubble I shall remain.

I miss having external goals and adventures to plan. Today, I was meant to be on my way to California to race a triathlon. Maybe I’ll do a mountain bike ride in my race onesie to commemorate what was supposed to be.

Even just writing this (and, I imagine reading this), is boring.

That’s it. That’s my whole life update. Life goes on, bored and boring or not!

 

 

 

Family, Kids, Random

A new job!

You guys! I am so excited to announce that I have a new job, despite the economic downturn and global pandemic. Drum roll, please…

I am the newly minted Administrative Assistant to my children.

This is an opportunity I didn’t even know existed a few weeks ago, but it really just dropped into my lap, so how could I refuse?

It’s quite a diverse role, let me tell you. And rewarding! Gosh.

Boss #3 in the background

I get to print things, endless things. I find lost (and very specific) pencils. I assist with managing calendars and appointments. Who knew that I had such profound IT skills? I can reset a password like nobody’s business.

In this house, chargers live the same existence as hair ties and Tupperware lids. Who the hell knows where they go, but I hope they are happy. This really just means that I also get do some conflict-resolution when my employers fight over the one remaining charger that is left in the cafeteria (aka Kitchen).

In addition, my role includes that of project management! Some people might call this overseeing homework, but I, for one, was exited to learn that my non-existent bird house making skills would come in handy… I may look to sub-contract this role. If anyone is looking, please do let me know.

Building her coronapocalypse pack. Totally normal.

I try to draw the line at fixing the snacks they request (a request usually made with a mouth full while eating a different snack) but find myself succumbing to the demand, else they’d quite happily survive on instant ramen and cereal.

I’m excited to see how this new role will evolve in the coming weeks.

I’m also really looking forward to the day I get laid off.

**

Please note: I am incredibly grateful that I even *get* to help my kids through this. They are doing, for the most part, great. Their school has been super supportive, as have my “real” employers. Writing these silly posts helps me find levity in an otherwise very heavy situation. As a family, we are doing our best – even if some days there’s more yelling and bickering than others. Do what works best for you and yours. For me, what works best is trying to find the humour and to find things to laugh at, even if that thing is myself.

 

Random

Caught in some eternal flexed arm hang

If you’re a Canadian of a certain vintage, chances are you remember these:

I posted a photo on the socials this morning and these badges are like cilantro. You either loved them, or you hated them. There is no in between.

I remember doing these tests. I also remember Hal and Joanne McLeod’s Body Break! But that’s because it was on CBC, one of the 3 channels we had. I digress.

I never achieved that elusive black and red badge. In elementary school, I was about 3ft tall and weighed 80 pounds soaking wet. I did not enjoy exercise. My gym teacher, Roger, did everything he could think of to help me. Ultimately, I failed on the running part. Seriously.

Anyway. Clearly I’ve let it go and I really want to allow my children to experience this delightful challenge. Maybe, they too can be scarred for life!

The Canada Fitness Test was implemented in elementary schools nationwide in the 70s and 80s. To encourage “physical fitness” (and ultimately discontinued because it discouraged too many participants), it was based on this:

Fun fact: in 1979, they replaced the notorious flexed arm hang with a push up. I’m not super old but I still remember the stupid flexed arm hang. Maybe Roger didn’t get the memo.

Here are some delightful illustrations to help explain what the test was made of. To achieve “excellence”, you needed 95% in all 6 challenges.

Bust our your onesies and short shorts!

Push Ups

It helps to have someone right in front of you smacking your shoulders.

Do as many as you can, no time limit.

Shuttle Run

Ensure that you completely collapse at the end.

Test: Place 1 wooden block at one end, 2 wooden blocks at the other end, 10m apart. Start lying down with your forehead pressed into the gravel (fun!), run to the other side, pick up a block, run back, drop the block, pick up the other one, run back aaaaand time!

Partial Curl-Ups

I’m pretty sure these are no longer recommended. By anyone. 

Plus, this one requires a metronome.

But if you’re game, do them at a beat of “3 seconds per movement” for a max number.

Standing Long Jump

I’m quite fond of the rainbow shooting out of her butt. That’s what gives her the oomph.

The only place I ever long jump is into bed to avoid sharp cat claws hidden beneath it.

So yeah, measure the distance between take-off and landing. Feet hip width apart seems to be key.

50m run

Unclear what’s happening in pose #2.

This one made sure to bold that runner had to sprint past the line. I dunno. Whatever. Break out your stop watch.

Endurance run

This is my favourite. She’s like, “C’mon. Fuck. I’m done. WAIT! I’ll prance. Ok fine. I’ll do it but I won’t like it.”

Guidelines indicate that the endurance run must be executed around 50 square meters, and to ensure everyone has running shoes. And then run around said box for between 1600-2400m. I’m dizzy already.

Here’s how many laps you had to run around that dumb square:

God, no wonder so many kids hated this.

Here’s how you measured up. I tried to find the scoring for kids under 12, but no such luck. Y’all are smart, you can probably figure it out. Just click on each one to enlarge.

So there you go. My contribution to your homeschooling. I’m going to see if I can achieve bronze, for old times’ sake.

Might even throw in a flexed arm hang for kicks.

**

If you guys really want to dig into the descriptions, click here.

Random

Well, here we are.

Happy Tuesday!

Just typing that made me laugh. I had to look up that it was actually Tuesday.

So, with that:

How’s everyone doing?

Over here, it’s mostly positive, trying to steer clear of the pit of despair. Ok, maybe it’s not quite ‘pit’. More like, puddle. Regardless, I’m trying hard to steer clear from the edge.

The harsh reality?

We’ve got it pretty easy over here, in the grand scheme of things. First and foremost, we are all healthy (although, today I woke up sniffly and was quite certain that this was the end for me. I pulled it together after a cup of coffee).

We have space here – indoor and out – so we are not constantly on top of one another. I can still safely kick the kids outside when I need a break; better yet, I can kick myself outside. Or, I sequester myself in the basement on my bike, sweat and sing 80’s tunes very loudly.

Work has dwindled but hasn’t halted completely and for that I am *very* grateful. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it looks very different. But that’s ok.

We have food, friends and family. And I have wine.

A thought I’ve had a lot, lately:

When this is all over, and we can go back to “normal”, will we? Are we going to hold on to some of these new norms we’ve adapted to? Or will we quickly forget what this was all like, and go back to worrying about things like bouncy running shoes and where to go for March break 2021?

I hope we hold on to this connectedness (weird word). This feeling of “we’re all in this shit together” seems to have made us more open to reaching out to one another. We check in on each, have virtual drinks, etc. I kind of like it.

That’s my 6-feet-away-touchy-feely feeling for the day.

On that note, I hope to never utter the words “social distancing” again, once we get back to being able to high-5 in real life.

 

 

Random

More of the same.

Yet another brain dump! Bear with me, there’s nothing cohesive or exciting to write about, anyway.

**

On Monday, I started this:

Woof, what a month this day has been.

Today, since all this fun began, it rained. I also decided, after not sleeping, that the kids could do whatever they wanted – even if that meant 7 hours of stupid TikTok and Netflix. It won’t be like that every single day. But Monday, it was the right thing to do.

**

On Monday night, I added this:

I lie in bed at night and notice how eerily quiet it is. No cars going by. No hum of the nearby highway. No one walking home and getting into an argument at 2:37am.

**

And then this:

Anja and I went for (another) walk and tried to list the positives. For example, we haven’t driven anywhere lately. So, this is good for the environment in a manner of speaking. We can spend time outside, which is very lucky. We aren’t shopping for anything other than food and fresh flowers (which make me happy, so I consider them essential), so we aren’t spending money.

My dog is getting a whole lot of exercise and attention. He’s tired and confused.

Maybe I’ll finally learn to cook.

Probably not.

**

On Tuesday, well.

My work has, for all intents and purposes, evaporated.

*Poof!*

(I realize I’m not alone in this situation, and I’m not complaining. It’s just a fact). When you are an event planner/producer/person and events cease existing (except virtually), well then, there goes a chunk of my sense of purpose.

Which may or may not have led to a mini-existential crisis.

What can I contribute in these rather surreal times?

I don’t know yet.

**

Roll to Wednesday. And the only reason I know that is because I checked. It’s very quickly become the new normal to not have an alarm in the morning or a destination in mind for the day. I know it won’t be like this forever, but right now it feels like that stretch of time between Christmas and new years day, except exponentially.

I know that very soon I’ll have to set a schedule for myself and the kids with the premise of homeschooling. I have no idea what that will look like, beyond taking a lot of deep breaths.

**

I asked friends to send me their thoughts on their current situation. Here’s a compilation, kept anonymous:

“I think I gave my last handshake a few weeks ago.”

“It would be nice if we could play with our friends.”

“It’s like Groundhog Day… I mean I love my kids and the extra time together is for the most part great! But ya, Groundhog Day here! Same but different but still the same.”

“It’s trying to give the kids a real sense of the proportion of this virus yet not scaring them! Then realizing they just don’t understand (or really care….. I mean they’re just kids) so you get upset and then try and scare the shit out of them so they’re on the same page as us adults! ( I’m scared) Then they start calling people stupid and dumb and even though you agree you have to teach them to be compassionate and understanding !! This whole thing feels like it’s compressing the growing up timeline for my kids and I don’t like it!!”

“I actually quite like it! No pressure. Extra family time. It feels like a vacation from life if you just stay home and don’t watch too much of the news. We still have an income though so if that went away I’d be WAY more stressed I’m sure…”

“My thoughts feel random and rapid fire, interspersed with periods of calm nothingness. I go back and forth between manic “do all the things” (house projects, books, shows, home workout routines posted on social media) and a sort of aimless, almost deer-the-headlights existence.”

“I actually cried today.”

**

Stay sane, friends. And send me your thoughts.

2 meters.

 

Random

Brain dump

My normally short attention span has been contracted to that of a sea cucumber.

**

The world feels like it is shrinking daily. Our little physical bubble gets a little tighter with each new press conference and news release. Oddly, rather than feeling restrictive, I’ve found it a little comforting.

And yet at the same time, the virtual bubble gets a little bigger. I’m grateful for my friends who put up with my endless texts, who send me stupid videos, who check up on me.

Don’t get me wrong – the online news feed is like a fire hose of pure crazy, and it feels good to turn it off every once in a while and stick my head in the sand and pretend life is 100% normal.

In which case, I take my advice from a dog.

**

In that same vein, it didn’t take long for this new world order to start to feel normal. We’re more adaptable than we think.

**

People seem gentler with one another.

**

We are staring down a few months of homeschooling. There’s a reason I didn’t become a teacher. 

It’s a good thing kids are resilient.

I’ve see a few social posts saying things like “what’s the big deal with kids being out of school for a few months? Teach them to sew and change a tire. They don’t learn much in school anyway.”

Uh yeah. Here are my kids. Have at ‘er. Let me know how it goes after 4 hours.

**

It’s eerily quiet at night. No cars going anywhere.

**

I feel kind of useless and helpless. I don’t have much to contribute to those in need. Anyone else feel like this?

My current contribution level is staying home and annoying my kids by telling them to get off their phones.

**

Stay home, stay safe… stay sane.

 

Day-to-day life, Family, Kids, Random

Uh, now what?

March 17: Where do we even start.

I look out my window, everything looks normal: it’s a nice spring day. Kids are on the trampoline. People are biking by, walking their dogs. Just an average day.

But it isn’t, really.

I think back to this day, one week ago, and it was all systems (mostly) go: kids were planning their trip for March break, I was still going on mine (though wondering if we pull the plug, given that the US seemed, well, yeah). Work was normal, but I was making contingency plans. We celebrated Will’s 14th birthday with a terrific family dinner. Oblivious.

Business as usual.

But it wasn’t, really.

If you’d asked me, what would a week later look like, there’s absolutely no way I could have predicted this. NO WAY.

Cue the global pandemic. And the endless Covid-19 memes.

And the giant “?” floating over all of our heads. I mean, COME ON.

So, explaining this to the kids is interesting. Their little bubble of bliss hasn’t changed all that much, expect that they can’t ski. Oh my word. What a hardship. I don’t know how many more times I can say “wash your hands”. I encourage them to go outside and to stop eating my supply of snacks. I need someone to hack Fortnite and Tiktok, stat.

I try to explain that no, I don’t know what the fuck is going on, I have not lived through something like this. The closest thing I can relate it to is 9/11… and even that had us on a plane “business as usual” about a week after those planes flew into the towers.

This feels different. However, the need to be near people, to be close to those important to me, feels very much the same.

Buzzword of 2020: “social distancing”. How quickly we’ve adopted it into our vernacular.

I’m freaking tired. I’d like to think I’m handling this well, but the constant, minute-to-minute change is rough (this isn’t me whining. This is fact.) Anxiety is pretty high. I want to keep my routine but that seems selfish, somehow? Staying off social media and reading too much news helps. Going outside helps. Seeking normalcy helps. Squeezing my people helps. WINE HELPS.

Today, we found out that school is closed indefinitely. Kids were all stoked until they realized… I’m the new homeroom teacher.

Welcome to the new normal.

(To be continued.)

Random

First World Woes

I know that blogging is pretty much dead. And that’s fine. But every once in a while, I feel the need to tell a funny (at least, it’s funny now) story.

Last week, the kids and I flew to Hawaii for our long awaited trip. It was their Christmas present and I was proud of myself for 1) keeping it a secret from them for as long as I did and 2) scoring sweet airfare on a seat sale.

Foreshadowing.

Anyway. We were all really excited to leave, and in a fit of organization, everyone was packed and ready the night before we flew, even though our flight wasn’t till 6pm the following day.

I got up early to meet Jen for a run before anyone woke up. It was snowing heavily and I decided to check in for the flight over coffee.

Me, check. Kid 1, check, Kid 2, check. Kid 3? Denied.

WTF? I was barely awake and the message on the screen didn’t register. Until it did: passport expired.

OMFG.

How did I miss this? No matter, I did.

I immediately call Jay in a complete panic (though I’m not sure why, it’s not like he could magically make her passport valid).

He calms me for a second, reassuring me that she can travel on her Nexus.

Saved!

Except, not saved.

Her Nexus is with him. In Las Vegas.

Kick everyone out of bed, c’mon kids, the holiday starts at the passport office!

Fast forward a frantic jostling, throwing whatever in the van, who needs showers, who cares, let’s go! We arrive at the office at 9:30. The man at the door assures me that all will be well, yes ma’am, just go get the photo taken and we’ll be ready for you.

Except. Not ready.

All of Service Canada’s computers are down nationwide and there is literally not one thing they can do to help.

(There are tears, at this point. Actually, there were tears earlier, too).

I’m told to go to the airport and beg.

I, wouldn’t you know, am not above begging. Off we go.

At the airport, I head straight to the Nexus office, hoping that they can help in any way. The lady at the desk is exceptionally friendly, offering hope.

Except. There is no hope.

Government shutdown in the USA means there are no American agents to help.

Off we go to the check in desk to commence begging.

Meanwhile, after 47 phone calls, Jay is at a FedEx desk overnighting the precious nexus card.

At the check in, I get precisely nowhere. And not only do I get nowhere, I discover that those magical tickets I was so proud of? Well, those suckers are non-refundable and non-changeable.

Cue more tears. I’m frustrated and I just can’t help it. Anja’s not exactly thrilled, either. Had it been just me, whatever. But the children.

Are pretty damned resilient and good natured, actually.

At this point, the guilt mingled with the feeling of utter stupidity is making me literally nauseous. It doesn’t matter how many times I get told that this happens every day, all over the airport! It’s not the end of the world! It’s not a big deal! I feel like a big ol’ failure.

The ladies at the counter are so lovely and kind, but can do little more than take my credit card and rebook us on new tickets for the next night.

We group hug (me and the kids, not me and the ticket ladies). The kids sweetly go get me a coffee (they know what makes their mama tick). We ponder what to do with our 24 hours in Vancouver.

The rest of the day was a continuous series of mini-misadventures and misfires. One of those days where you can literally do nothing right. I could not wait to go to bed and be done with it. We got to spend time with the cousins, so there is always an upside.

Fast forward 7 days… we’re safely and successfully checked in to the flght home tomorrow. The expired passport is a distant memory. We have crushed our tourist game and loved our time together, bickering siblings and all.

There’s a reason I’m not a travel agent.

Aloha.

 

Random

Boredom begets boring

It’s about 2:30 in the afternoon. It’s smokey out, but beyond that, the weather is pretty summer perfect right now.

I’m on the deck. I’ve been here since I crawled out of bed.

Anja is brushing the dog’s teeth, and just gave the cat a bath.

Rory is attaching zip ties to his bike to make it sound obnoxious.

Not really sure where Will got to.

Every once in a while, they come and check on me.

“Whatcha doing, Mum?”

“Nothing.”

“Are you bored?”

“Kinda.”

“…”

They wander away, I continue my boredom.

It’s pretty great.

July went by in the blink of an eye.

School let out/Canada Day/Denmark/Summer camp(s)/Ironman.

That literally encompasses the month. There was nothing else. Which is why I’m milking this August boredom for all it’s worth.

Oh yeah. August doubles as fat camp (I get it, I’m not fat. But I’m not fit, either). So between books and hammock swings, I’ve returned to some riding, some running. Swimming can wait (beyond the mid-ride, sweltering, I’m-gonna-die-if-I-don’t-jump-in-right-now swims).

There are races to race, adventures to go on, things to eat.

You know what else is boring? This blog. Yeesh.

 

 

Random

Spring musings

It’s currently 6:18pm. It’s still light out, and miraculously not raining. Spring has been slow in coming. I’m answering emails from the comfort of the couch, glass of wine in hand. All I can hear is screaming kids on the trampoline.

It’s blissful, in its own weird way.

I love this time of year if simply for the fact that the kids just instantly drop everything the minute they come in the door to go back outside (I mean this, literally. Daily, I trip over backpacks and shoes when I come in the door and have to yell “PICK YOUR STUFF UP!”)

Neck breaking hazards aside, it’s liberating. No one asks for TV or whines about boredom. The backyard collects extra kids for trampoline time but just as quickly empties when a game of street-wide manhunt starts.

Every once in a while it goes eerily quiet… it takes me a few moments to notice the change. If I peer over the deck railing, it’s usually to find that the boys have scattered, and there are a few girls sitting on the trampoline, quietly talking about who knows what. I retreat as I don’t want to intrude whatever little world they’ve created.

It’s evenings like this that make me appreciate, even more than usual, the community that is created by small town living.