Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Pandemic anniversary and other odds & ends

  • Today is our (36th!!) wedding anniversary. Saturday we'll be getting our first haircuts in 17 weeks -- the first appointments we could get after salons reopened late last week.  Last night, dh asked me, "If the first available appointment had been tomorrow on our anniversary instead of Saturday, would you have taken it?"  Me: "Damn right."  lol  #trueromantic #priorities  ;)  
  • This is our second pandemic anniversary. We'll be celebrating in much the same way as we did last year, with wine and takeout from one of our favourite restaurants, and maybe an outing for some (takeout) gelato. :)  Restaurant patios are open (albeit not indoor dining yet) -- but we're only a week out from our second vaccines. Even if we were past the two-week mark, I'm not sure either of us would be comfortable on a patio yet. Maybe later this summer...? (COVID-19 aside, today's forecast is 32C, 40C with humidity factored in -- that's 90F & 104F, respectively.)(It was already 24C/31C humidex = 75F/88F at 7 a.m. this morning.)  
    • There's still nobody else I'd rather be quarantined with. :)   
  • We often celebrate our anniversary with a bookstore visit ;)  but we were already there yesterday. For both of us, it was the first time we'd been back since March 31st -- more than three full months!! (It reopened on June 11th after our latest lockdown restrictions were lifted for non-essential retail.  There are still capacity limits and mask requirements, among other precautions.)  Then I went to the drugstore to pick up some prescriptions and sundries -- also for the first time since March 31st, although it's remained open all through the pandemic (masks & other social distancing measures in place), and dh has been there in the months between to pick up stuff he couldn't find on the pharmacy shelves at the supermarket. 
    • It was... weird. Obviously, I've been both places since the pandemic began, in between lockdowns, but it's like finding your feet all over again -- fumbling for your wallet, your debit card and points card, and trying to remember your PIN number when the tap & go feature doesn't work... I had to shake off the feeling that I needed to rush through the stacks and get out again ASAP, because I didn't want to spend too much time indoors with other people -- even if we are partially vaccinated, and all of us were wearing masks and keeping our distance from each other. 
    • It was sensory overload too. I walked in and immediately spotted half a dozen books I coveted. Even in the drugstore, I had to restrain myself -- I think I'm still in a lockdown/scarcity mindset. I see stuff that I use, and even if I have plenty at home, I feel like I should buy more and stock up. I had to remind myself that if I start running low, the drugstore will still be open (and/or I can order some online). I don't HAVE to buy ALL THE THINGS, NOW.  I think it will take a while to get back into the swing of things again...!  
    • With the bookstore, dh confessed he's gotten so used to being able to just download whatever he wants to his e-reader, at much cheaper prices than even a paperback, that he doesn't feel the same compulsion to buy books. (I bought three -- two hardcovers, one discounted, and one paperback, also discounted).  I still love my paper books (and I still love going to the bookstore, just to soak up the atmosphere and to browse and see what's there) -- but these days I admit I find it hard to justify paying the extra money for paper (whether hardcover or paperback)(and taking up precious shelf space in our small condo). 
      • I do think a lot of e-books are ridiculously priced, though, and I keep my eyes open for e-book bargains. I have a (long) running wishlist on Kobo that I scroll through regularly, and surprisingly, I will often find a book that was regularly priced at $13.99, $16.99 or more for $5.99 or less. (All figures Canadian dollars.) I've learned to snap up bargains when I see them, though, because they will often revert to regular price the next day!  
  • As I mentioned above, it's been 17 weeks since our last haircuts (in mid-March, between lockdowns). It's also been 17 weeks since we last visited the cemetery near Old Community where Katie's ashes are interred. 
    • When we lived in the area (10-15 minutes from the cemetery), we used to go nearly every week (for almost 18 years straight), often late on a Saturday afternoon before heading out for dinner. When we moved here, dh promised me we could still visit as often as I wanted. It's 30-40 minutes, one way, and we're never there for more than a few minutes, so I knew that it wouldn't be practical to go every week like we used to. 
    • Eventually, a new pattern emerged:  visiting before or after haircuts (with a stop at a favourite local store or two worked in for good measure) -- i.e., every six weeks or so. We have occasionally gone between haircuts -- on Katie's day, on some Mother's & Father's Days, and sometimes just because we felt like it -- and then we'd usually go for lunch and a browse at the bookstore near there, so that it wasn't just a matter of driving for half an hour, visiting for 10-15 minutes and then turning around and head back home.  Which, I suppose, is why we haven't been there during these past 17 weeks when the hair salons have been closed.  
    • I feel guilty sometimes that we are not there more often. On the other hand, not many bereaved parents I talk to are still visiting their child's grave every single week, 23 years later. So I try to cut myself some slack. 
    • Dh did propose, when we moved here, that we could purchase niches at a cemetery here, sell our niches there and have Katie's urn moved. I didn't want to do that. Sure, the idea of having her closer to us had some merit.  But.  Her niche was sealed 23 years ago this summer, with her urn inside, and some roses and a letter from me and a little Classic Pooh book from her father. To open that up again would be like opening up an old wound, I think. That's the resting place we chose for her -- it's a lovely cemetery, with a "Garden of Angels" nearby, where the children of many of the parents who came to our support group are buried too.  I feel like she belongs there, in that community, where she was an important part of our life, even if she never took a breath or lived in the house we bought with her and her non-existent siblings in mind. 
  • For the second (pandemic) summer in a row, CBC Radio One is broadcasting reruns of the Vinyl Cafe with the late, great Stuart McLean on Sunday mornings. I wrote last summer about how wonderful it was to visit with this comforting old friend again, and it's just as nice (and bittersweet) the second rerun summer around. :)  Once again, I got a huge lump in my throat as an anonymous volunteer audience member announced "It's the Vinyl Cafe with Stuart McLean!"  
    • You can listen too, live on CBC Radio One, online, or wherever you get your podcasts. 


  1. Ugh. 32C with high humidity. That's not very nice "sitting outside" weather, especially with other people in a pandemic when you're not quite fully vaccinated yet (ie through the two-week wait). Good ice-cream/gelato weather though! Hope you had a good anniversary today.

    I'm with your DH on e-books. Since falling in love with our library e-lending, I struggle even to buy e-books, though I grab one or two occasionally, let alone paper books. We have two rooms of the house filled with paper books - most of the DH's - and we don't need any more!

    I also don't think you should feel guilty about not visiting Katie's cemetery more often. It's been a pandemic, after all! You honour her in all you do - in your writing here, in your regular visits to her, in your daily remembrances. Be gentle with yourself. Katie would want that.

  2. AAARRRRRGHHHHH just wrote a lovely multifaceted comment and the internets foiled me with weird error messages. Will try again!

  3. Oh holy moses maybe I'm not meant to comment on this post! It happened again!
    Upshot: Happy anniversary, return to "normal" is weird and definitely sensory overload, I wonder if we'll see a Great Depression Effect where we worry about scarcity and need to buy multiples of things (especially toilet paper, ha) JUST IN CASE, I worry about e-books and cheap pricing's impact on the publishing business and also individual author compensation, NPR had a cool thing on the impact that Amazon and fast-food places have had on the public's perception of what things cost and their value vs what they actually cost that hurts individuals and small businesses like independent bookstores and food trucks... but ebooks are super convenient and I can't pass up downloading the cheap ones when they come up on sale myself and the space saving is real. Agree with Mali and think you deserve grace from yourself because you honor Katie in so many ways, physical visits are just one way and it's been a strange time.
    Fingers crossed this one goes through!

  4. Happy wedding anniversary!!! <3

    I thought of you last week when I went and got my haircut. It had been TWO years!! That's definitely the longest I've gone without a haircut. I had to get 8 inches cut off. I didn't want to, but I needed to. Slowly but surely, it will grow back...

    I will have to keep "scarcity mindset" in my thoughts. That makes sense. I want to remember that I have everything I need and that stores are still selling stuff if I want anything extra. I don't *need* to stock up on dried pasta and canned tomatoes. (But fabric is a different story, hahaha.)

    I also want to remember the concept of "sensory overload." I think this is why doing things that used to be normal are more tiring now. That makes sense.

    It sounds like Katie has the perfect resting spot. I'm sorry you don't get to visit as often as you'd like, but I'm glad you have this place that you can picture in your mind. And that you can still visit occasionally. <3

  5. Happy belated anniversary! You two have certainly traveled many roads, literal and metaphorical, together. Congratulations!

    I agree with Mali about being gentle with yourself about visiting Katie's place more often during the pandemic. And I also hear the dilemma about shortening the distance between you and the cemetery. Hey...I'm abiding with you as you mull it all over. xo