Slowly Losing It; Twenty-Two Weeks In

Get It On, Bang A Gong

With absolutely no prompting and zero information on the Noise Infraction Police Situation, my neighbours two doors down – a couple in their late sixties – told me that every day at 5:30, when my son practices his drums, they come out into their backyard to listen to him. “When you have your windows open we can really hear him,” the wife said, and when I sheepishly said that it’s pretty loud, she answered with “It’s music! He sounds great!” I feel Very Fortunate for my neighbours and more inclined than ever to encourage more band practices (the socially distanced kind, of course) in my basement. Get ready for some covers of Another One Bites The Dust and Plush, neighbours!

Channeling Tammy Faye

Every night for two weeks, I wondered why my mascara was so hard to remove, and every morning for two weeks I woke up with raccoon eyes and mascara residue still, somehow, on my eyelashes. I wondered if they changed the formula; it was going on a little funny as well. Every day. Two weeks. Then I looked at the tube and realized I had accidentally bought the waterproof kind.

You Go To School To Learn, Not For A Fashion Show

The boys have not worn jeans since March; they have been, weather be damned, exclusively in shorts. They are starting in-person school in just a couple of weeks, and so I had them try on their jeans to see where we were at.

You know how you can be around people for twenty-four hours a day and not really realize that they’ve changed until you look at old photos or, in this case, have them try on clothes they haven’t worn for five months? They’ve GROWN.

My older son went to try his jeans on and said, “Mom, I’m not sure if it’s just because I haven’t worn jeans in a while, but were they always this tight?” He came into the room looking like Kramer when he went back to jeans. They were absolutely, 1980s-Girls-Who-Wore-Jeans-Still-Damp-So-They-Could-Dry-Tighter, skintight, ending at mid-calf. He could barely walk. Then he bent over and the jeans completely ripped up the butt. My younger son’s jeans fit similarly but with less dramatic ripping.

Even if we weren’t in a pandemic, the thought of actually taking the boys to a store is defeating to me; their sizes are so strange that stores rarely carry them, so we ordered online and I chose in-store pickup. The date for pickup was last week, the same date that all the masks I ordered from a great company called Wedding Star were due to arrive. I cheerfully walked to the mall, which was busier than any place I’ve been to but with mandatory masks – and everyone complying – it felt okay. Jeans in hand, I waited happily for the masks to arrive on my doorstep…and waited. I wondered if I got the dates wrong, but when I went to look at the confirmation email, I couldn’t find it. I went to the website, and there was my order, that I HAD NOT FINISHED. My little cart was sitting there, ten masks in, waiting for me to pay. Oops. Happily, they are due to arrive BEFORE the start of school, and I have the confirmation to prove it. Plus, now all of the masks were on sale. Who knew being a flake could pay off?

Stick It To The Man

My younger son had to go for blood work, and, as with anything in our new reality, I was a bit nervous. The lab, at the best of times, seems like a disgusting petrie dish of humanity. I needn’t have worried. For one thing, as I said masks are now mandatory in all public spaces; even so, when we were allowed to enter, we had to remove our masks, sanitize our hands, and put on fresh, disposable masks provided by the lab.

Side note: is anyone else a little concerned about the environmental impacts of all of this? Disposable everything, harsh chemicals cleaning every surface that could possibly be touched by another person, not to mention gallons of hand sanitizer, possibly ingested when we eat anything and possibly absorbed into our bodies? Hello, superbugs and environmental crisis. Anyway. One thing at a time.

*repeat mantra* we are all just doing the best we can, we are all just doing the best we can

Anyhoo, back to the lab. We had to line up, physically distanced, in the hallway so the staff could control the numbers, and then after we were freshly masked and sanitized and signed in for his appointment, we were directed immediately to a cubicle where the technician would take his blood. There was a waiting room but I assume it was for people who had arrived a bit too early.

My son and I were reading and laughing at the warning signs with regards to getting blood work, that were posted on the cubicle wall. Side effects include minor discomfort! Oh no! You may have minor discomfort! My son pointed out bleeding from the puncture site. “Isn’t that how they take blood? Bleeding from the puncture sight?” Ha ha ha, yes, well.

We finished the appointment and went to the stairwell – I never take the elevator for less than five floors, and we were on the second – but it was closed due to cleaning. “Well, I guess it has to be the elevator,” I said, turning to my son, who at the same time said “Um, Mom?”

The cotton ball was soaked with blood and it was dripping down his arm. Huh.

Back to the lab!

Of course, there was a big lineup when we got there, and at the very front was an older couple, going through a very long explanation with the technician – who had her back to me – about why there was two of them and why they were there so early. The gentleman had aphasia, yes he speaks English but doesn’t always understand what’s happening, yes they understood that all chairs were six feet apart so in the waiting room, those were brand-new disposable masks they had on, did they really have to use the lab ones, okay, yes, they would use the lab ones. Meanwhile, my son and I stood there as patiently as possible; it’s not like he was bleeding OUT and also, as a society we should remember that other people exist and have needs. Aphasia is hard enough to live with, after all, and it was, as Monty Python would say, only a flesh wound.

Once the couple were inside, the technician gestured to the next person in line, who had watched my son and I standing there, and in turn gave me the universal “OMG, GO!” gesture. I apologetically explained to the woman that we were just there, but my son started bleeding…she looked at his arm and it was High Alert! Code Red! We were rushed into a new cubicle and quickly looked after, which seemed a little dramatic but was appreciated.

The lesson here is, of course, karma, because he also had some minor discomfort.

Pandemic Reading

I don’t know why I keep reading about Truman Capote, when I find his life completely sad and depressing. I guess I like reading about fashion and high society in the 1960s-70s. A few years ago I read The Swans of Fifth Avenue, which was, in my opinion, much more fun than Swan Song. However, this book contains a lot more about Lee Radziwill, who I find kind of fascinating, and also Pam Churchill. Worth a read if you don’t mind depressing end-of-life stories.

Oh, this was good. A psychotherapist seeks therapy to deal with a bad breakup, but ends up facing the fact that she is having a midlife crisis. This is wonderful and life-affirming in every way. I usually photograph pages that contain lines I want to remember, and I could have photographed this whole book.

In lieu of a mountain hike, this week my dear friend and frequent hiking partner Taryn (HI TARYN) and I headed for a 10 km in the foothills – very lovely and so close to home!

Lots more adventures to come this week, I’m sure. And for those of you wondering about my herb garden? Sorry to keep you hanging! xo


  1. That’s great he has an audience!

  2. I have a new phone that I am struggling to adjust too. The send button for texts is next to the emojee button. So many texts have not been sent recently because the emojee button tricks me. Glad your masks will still arrive, and on sale!

    How great that neighbors are enjoying the band practices. Awesome!

    I admit that as a squeamish person I struggled to hold my phone as I read the blood story because my hands got weak. Yikes.

    As always the photos of your hikes/walks are amazing- the likes of which I only see when on vacation.

  3. Awwww, the neighbors! That is so sweet!

    And the blood draw sounds hilarious but also alarming.

  4. I love your neighbours – so awesome! (and that you spell neighbours the Canadian way;).

    I also am also very uncomfortable with the environmental impact of all of the additional plastic, masks etc. I can no longer use my mesh reusable bags for produce (a few stores are just allowing it now in Ontario). For weeks many stores wouldn’t even allow the large reusable bags! I felt like I had an actual physical reaction to bringing all this plastic home again. I am also concerned about all the antibacterial use – it is wiping out our protective microbiome along with all the other bacteria. Cold and flu season should be interesting this year. I am diligently taking a high quality probiotic to offset it as much as possible.

    I really do enjoy your blog Nicole!

  5. I put actual pants on for the first time in months today, as I had a dentist appointment – which I was NOT comfortable with but since I’ve put them off the last three times it had almost been a year – so I went. It seemed all very safe but still…in a medical building with their hands in my mouth. Very off-putting.

    The whole ecological thing is a nightmare so I try not to think about it just yet and continue to recycle every single thing I can. Same for the antibacterial use.

  6. You can save your disposable masks! Get some paper bags!!

    The wedding star masks are the favourites here, and now we have 30 on the way (on sale too!) thanks for the tip.

  7. Neighbors who appreciate music and teens behaving are the best kind of neighbors.
    Sounds like your boys have GROWN!!
    I’ve often filled my cart and then not hit the SEND or PAYMENT button; you’re in good company.

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