Johnny, You’re A Cream Puff; Forty-Four Weeks In

Last week, after a month – or was it six weeks? There was the winter break in there somewhere – of at-home learning, the boys were back to actual, honest-to-god, in-person school. Only for four days though; Thursday – THURSDAY – was a day off for “virtual grade nine tours.” My neighbour, whose three daughters went to the same high school years ago, quite reasonably asked why, if the tours were virtual, did it matter if the kids were in school or not. An excellent question and one that I myself had wondered about. My sons told me that it was because the teachers were busy with this virtual tour, and if you want a weird feeling week, give the kids a Thursday off and then full classes on Friday.

This week they have finals, and their finals are on alternating days, and only in the mornings, and then for a couple of days last week we were told that they have to go to class in the afternoons, but now those afternoon classes are optional tutorials only but not all classes and not all days, and I have honestly no idea what’s going on. I am actually looking forward to the last week of January, when the diploma exams take place and neither of them need to be anywhere. I never thought I would look forward to having a week of the kids uselessly at home in January, but here we are. At least they will be available to bring in the groceries.

Also this week personal services – hair salons, etc. – are reopening for one-on-one appointments, and after the backlog clears a bit I am hoping the boys go in to get their hair cut. Neither of them have been since late September, and things are getting a bit desperate around here. We have full-on mullets happening. My younger son, whose hair is quite wavy, is faring better than his brother, whose hair is perfectly straight and falls right into his face. He has taken to wearing a bandana on his forehead to keep the hair out of his eyes and he looks exactly like Johnny from The Karate Kid, but brunette and with glasses.

Speaking of glasses, my younger son came home from school on Wednesday without his, explaining that he caught a dodge ball in the face and the glasses broke. One thing I’ve learned about parenting teenage boys is that sometimes questions are best to remain unasked.

Anyway, he cannot be without his glasses, particularly going into finals, and although my son suggested that he could just tape the frame back together, or maybe use Gorilla Glue, I phoned our optometrist and spoke with the loveliest woman who found the exact same frames, and then told me to come by and she would pop the lenses into the new frames. We close at five, but are open tomorrow at nine, she said, as I looked at the clock. 4:21. I barely let her finish her sentence before hanging up the phone, zipping out of the house, almost getting stuck in the huge piles of rutted snow in the back alley, making it to the office at 4:36 LIKE A BOSS.

It felt a bit like some kind of illicit drug deal, as the door was locked, and the very lovely assistant opened it a crack. “Nicole?” she asked, and then quickly re-locked the door once I was inside. We were both masked but I handed her the glasses with my arm stretched out as far as possible to put enough distance between ourselves to be, as they say, safe. The whole thing took about five minutes but I was riding on adrenaline for a while, and ended up going to bed even earlier than normal.

I’m generally exhausted on Wednesdays anyway since that is Designated Grocery Day. Since the most recent lockdown, grocery stores are only allowed 15% of fire code capacity, and while last spring I was perfectly willing to line up outside, January – even this lovely mild January – is a different story. My new Wednesday Routine is to get up even earlier than normal to do my yoga practice and cardio workout, shower, clean the bathroom and breakfast, all before leaving the house at 7:45 to get to Superstore just as it opens. My husband has suggested that some, if not all, of those things could be easily done AFTER shopping but no. NO. I need to feel like I have some kind of control over my day and so I’d rather sleep 20 minutes less than move any part of my usual morning to a different part of the day. Plus, after grocery shopping I like to have some Recovery Time, where I drink a relaxing cup of herbal tea and stare into space for a while.

Outfit of the Week

This week’s OOTW is a Tuesday Outfit; on Tuesdays I teach zoom seniors’ yoga, and for that demographic I like to have a tee over my usual yoga tank and pants. This is one of my favourite combinations: the tee is loose and flowy but short enough to show the grey tank, and the cardigan I wear for the t-1 hour that I am not teaching is made of the softest wool you can even imagine. IT IS SO SOFT, YOU GUYS.

Pandemic Reading

I had a couple of days after finishing my library stack before others started coming in, so I grabbed a couple of books from my own shelves.

“Are you reading something by that guy again?” my husband asked me as I shook with laughter in my reading chair. Oh, marriage. He was referring, of course, to David Sedaris, who is probably the funniest and wittiest writer of all time. His essays make me cry with laughter and then, break my heart, as when he discusses his mother’s inoperable cancer or his own sexuality. As I was reading this, it occurred to me how far we have come as a society, as he wrote about teachers – TEACHERS – relentlessly mocking homosexuals in the classroom, and his own self-loathing.

Even in my youth in the 80s I can remember those attitudes, and I am happy that my children’s generation is so much more open and accepting. Obviously there is always room for improvement and change, but we have come a long way.

Speaking of the 80s! Judy Blume for adults is exactly what you’d expect – very readable, quite smutty, and really fun. I liked this book about friendship and first loves, although I suspect I would have liked it more had I read it 25 years ago when I was closer in age and experience to the protagonists, rather than the parents.

This really fell flat with me. A satirical book about the so-called wellness industry, it attempts an underlying theme of body positivity and acceptance, but really, it just feels sort of “off.” Meh, a semi-decent weekend read I guess.

We completed the puzzle yesterday so now we can get on with our lives. I hope you all have a good week; I’m sending positive thoughts out to all of you in the States for a peaceful one. xo


  1. I just bought the SOFTEST long sleeve yoga t-shirt. I really didn’t need it so I beat myself up a bit. Contemplated waiting to see if it would be reduced further but it was the last one. I figured someone else would snag it. I like to wear comfy clothes when I babysit, so justified.

    The glasses situation is all too reminiscent of Reg losing his brand new glasses at the start of the pandemic. We reordered. They lost them. Or sent them to the wrong store. When they finally came in, the woman met me at the exit so I didn’t have to wait in the line to get them.

    I rely heavily on my kids knowing the school schedule because it seems to constantly change.

  2. I am in awe of the fact that you clean the bathroom before 7.45am. For me, cleaning the bathroom is almost always a late-night task, which springs from necessity and sudden inspiration rather than planning. Probably relevant: no one else uses my bathroom, least of all teenage boys.

  3. I am super into the boy-band BTS and they often wear headbands to hold back their floppy bangs so I think your son probably looks pretty awesome.

  4. Thank you for the positive thoughts, Nicole. I have a feeling (I hope I’m wrong) that we will need them.

    I’m with you on the morning routine – although mine does NOT include cleaning the bathroom before 8:00 am!

  5. Johnny from the Karate Kid is a GOOD LOOK. I am sad that I can’t get my hair cut and worried about the owner and people at my hair salon. Eve is at home until further notice. It’s weird looking at different places opening up and closing down. I’m hopeful that as we get further out from Christmas our cases will drop. Things are feeling pretty bleak right now. You in your yoga seniors day outfit should be in a catalogue.

  6. Nice job on the puzzle.

  7. The school schedule is so bizarre; there is no way I could keep up. I laughed visualizing your son as Johnny with the headband.
    I love your cute yoga outfit and the fact that you can get so much done before 7:45 am? AMAZING!

  8. Your paragraph about the illicit drug deal is 100% A+ love it.

    I went on a Judy Blume kick this summer and read a bunch of the adult novels that I had never read before. I enjoyed them all, but cannot distinguish one from another in my memory. Deenie, Wifey, Summer Sisters — I’m SURE they each had distinct plots but… far be it from me to remember.

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