Pandemic Takeaways, There are a Few

pandemic takeaway, mud lake

Believe it or not, there are a few pandemic takeaways to learn from.

Humans are Meant to Socialize

Mankind is meant to be sociable. Many experts believe social interaction is important for mental health, starting at a very early age. Just how sociable you (or your children) are is up to you of course, usually. Not so when forced to practice social distancing, isolation, or quarantine.

We were able to keep in touch with each other during the height of the pandemic through social media. Used exclusively to communicate though, social media can have a dark side. I saw lots of kind, considerate and compassionate stuff posted, but sadly lots of negativity and ugliness too.

The pandemic takeaway here is that we should strive to be kind instead of mean or judgmental. Looking after each other is especially crucial during hard times.

Staying Home When Sick

In a perfect world, everyone would stay home when they are sick, and keep their sick kids home too. However, with economies tanking and inflation rates increasing, more and more families rely on two salaries to survive. To compensate, employers would have to step up and agree to pay their employees to stay home when they or their kids are sick.

Working From Home

Working from home started out as non-negotiable for many early on during the pandemic. Almost two years in, working from home has gained momentum in both popularity and convenience. I know several people that are thriving while working from home, others not so much.

For some, the convenience and flexibility outweigh the lack of personal interaction with co-workers. For others though, social isolation is painful.

The pandemic takeaway? If the work from home option is still available, do whatever works best for you and your family.

Personal Hygiene

Like we learned way back in kindergarten, we need to wash our hands frequently. While hand sanitizer was worshipped early on in the pandemic, we know now that simple soap and water hand washing is sufficient to prevent the spread of bacteria and viruses.

If you didn’t before, one of the most crucial pandemic takeaways is that you should wash your hands after:

  • blowing your own nose or wiping a child’s nose
  • sneezing into a tissue
  • changing a diaper
  • returning home from a public place (stores, gas stations, restaurants etc)

Maintaining a Healthy Immune System

This pandemic takeaway is how important our immune systems are in the fight against disease, including the lingering Covid virus. Stress-free living, fresh air, sunshine, healthy eating, and frequent exercise top of the list of ways to keep our immune systems functioning well.

fresh air, pandemic takeaways

Discover Local Outdoor Activities

Early on in the pandemic, I found myself researching outdoor places to take my grandchildren to. I discovered that Ottawa has an amazingly large number of options. As the nation’s capital, we are fortunate to have the NCC (National Capital Commission) maintaining many parks and trails, both in winter and summer.

Mud Lake was a favourite place for my grandson and me to visit during the summer. Although we visited Shirley’s Bay in the summer too, we have since discovered the ice fishing opportunity there this winter.

pandemic takeaways, fresh air and sunshine
“ice fishing is more fun than sun fishing”

Me, a Hair Stylist?

It has been almost two years now since my husband or I have been to a hair stylist to get our hair cut. I have been cutting (some might say hacking at) both of our hair. Hubby’s hair is pin straight, so very unforgiving, and he is much more particular than I am. As a result, his takes much longer to cut. Mine is slightly wavy; much easier to hide the mistakes. The cuts may not look professional, but who cares? I don’t.

I have also given up colouring my hair. I actually made that decision prior to the pandemic onset, with no regrets. The white colour may make me look older but I love the freedom. Not to mention the lack of white roots that would crop up a mere one week after colouring my hair.

pandemic takeaways

Summary of Pandemic Takeaways

Many of these are my personal takes. Hopefully, you have some pandemic takeaways of your own. Learn from and maintain the positive ones; move on from or fix the negative ones.

Shame on the Haters so Quick to Judge Others

shame on the haters

Shame on the haters that are so quick to judge others.  It is disgustingly common on social media these days. Anyone commenting or posting is quickly pounced on by these haters who respond with scathing comments of their own.  It’s called trolling for a reason; these haters are ugly as trolls, and I’m not talking about their outward appearance.

Bianca Andreescu’s Mom

The latest example I encountered was all the nasty comments surrounding the appearance and demeanor of Bianca Andreescu’s mom during the recent US Open.  At a restaurant watching the final, I heard firsthand things like “oh my god, that must be a wig” “what’s with the sunglasses?” and “doesn’t she ever smile?”

shame on the haters
Maria and Nicu Andreescu supporting their daughter Bianca at the US Open

This Twitter conversation started with a tweet from Chrissy Teigen, answered by other examples of nastiness:

Bianca’s mom looks like someone is pretending to be Bianca’s mom. Someone check on Bianca’s mom!!  — christine teigen (@chrissyteigen) September 7, 2019

That’s what I thought, too! Hahaha! I was like Is that a wig? Sunglasses? Is the in the Witness Protection Program?

Was she trying to disguise herself or is she just Unattractive 🤷🏽‍♀️

Bianca’s response? “My mom’s a straight G. I will never be that cool”

Bianca’s Comeback

I chuckled when I later heard an interview with Bianca, knowing some of these haters might be (should be) pretty embarrassed about their comments.  When asked how she maintains her composure and concentration during such stressful times (US Open against Serena Williams), Andreescu was quick to credit her mom.  Apparently, her mom has been teaching her talented daughter yoga and mindfulness for several years.  When stressed on the tennis courts, all she has to do is look up and focus on her mother’s calmness to settle her nerves. She can then block out the external issues (like the noisy crowd cheering for Williams) and return to concentrating on the game at hand.

“I don’t only work on my physical aspect. I also work on the mental, because that’s also very, very important,” Bianca added. “It’s definitely showing through my matches where I’m staying in the present moment a lot of the time. I don’t like to focus on what just happened or in the future.”

Shame on the haters! As Taylor Swift advised, “haters gonna hate hate hate hate hate, shake it off!”  Good for you Bianca for shaking it off, putting these haters in their place, refusing to let their judgments ruin such an awesome achievement.  Your parents are obviously very proud of you and you of them.  Your appreciation for the sacrifices your parents made for their family is very mature and touching.

On a more comical note, after thrilling us with her tennis prowess, trophy in her arms, Bianca addressed the Williams’ fans displaying her sense of humour too:

“I know you guys really wanted Serena to win, I am so sorry about that”

How typically Canadian!

Social Media Busts Vandal in Kingston

If you read one of my previous posts you will know how angry and disgusted I was with the idiot that trashed our car at Queen’s University Home Coming celebrations in Kingston, Ontario recently.  Well, social media busted the vandal as his actions were captured and displayed for all to see, including the Kingston Police Department.  Their investigation is pending.

The Evidence Courtesy of Social Media

This video shows him on the roof and stepping off onto the front hood.  Listen for the “holy F***, he dented the hood!” at the end.

The Perpetrator Found on Social Media

These are the pictures my son’s friends were able to provide us with when we asked for help finding this guy. Social media stepped up to bust the vandal.

Damages

Damages have been estimated at $7200.  Our insurance has said the damages will cost more to repair than what the car is worth.  In other words, it is a write-off.  If we pay the $500 deductible, we will end up with a pittance in compensation and no car.  Here are a few pictures of the damage.

We can only assume he broke the brake light on the back spoiler while climbing onto the hood. We also don’t have (visible) proof for the dent in the door, the gouged-out rust spot, or the Toyota emblem missing off the front of the car. 

Now up to Police

We can only hope now that the police prosecute this idiotic (drunk) vandal to the fullest extent possible. I realize we will probably not recover more than the current value of the car, but it sure would be nice to see the police (or other authorities) make an example of this idiot.

Too bad Judge Judy doesn’t practice in Canada, she would be all over this guy!

Conclusions

I believe (and judging by the response I have received) it’s the principle of the matter that should rule here.  We are not asking for a new car.  I do think though that this guy should pay to fix the car to the condition it was in before he trashed it, regardless of what its blue book value is. 

Am I wrong? You be the judge!

Update

The police in Kingston refused to file charges on this incident, claiming they do not want to ruin this kid’s future.

How disappointing, frustrating, and yet typical of today’s no-blame society. What a way to teach these irresponsible, disrespectful vandals a valuable life lesson.

Rampant Vandalism at Queen’s Homecoming

rampant vandalism

Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario celebrated homecoming this past weekend.  The problem is the celebrations get out of hand each year when idiots resort to vandalizing anything they get their hands on.  This year our car was one of the unfortunate targets of this rampant vandalism.

Our son had taken the car to Kingston for the weekend to spend time with some of his high school buddies that currently attend Queen’s.  We had instructed him to park the car in his friend’s driveway when he got there and leave it parked for the weekend (ie no drinking and driving).  He did what we told him to, sort of.  There was no parking spot available in the driveway when he arrived on Friday, so he parked on the street. When he went to check on the car Saturday, he was dismayed to see that it had been a victim of the rampant vandalism.  The roof was caved in, front and back hoods dented, brake light on the spoiler kicked in, almost every inch of the car covered in scratches and beer stains, as well as the Toyota emblem torn off the front.

It saddens and sickens me that these so-called intelligent students resort to this disgustingly destructive behaviour.  How and why do they feel this rampant vandalism is acceptable?  How do they get away with it?  To all the people standing around watching (apparently there were lots of pictures and a video posted on social media) it happen, WTF were you thinking?

I realize the car in question is old (2003) with lots of mileage.  We planned to keep the car for our youngest son to drive (he’s 21 now) while he still lives at home. The costs to repair the vandalism will most likely be higher than what the car is worth.  Then the insurance deductible will eat up the measly amount we will receive as compensation, but that’s not the point.  The car is our possession, it is incomprehensible how some idiotic kids can damage other peoples’ property with no remorse.

I can promise you any pictures I find of our damaged car on social media will be forwarded to the police to supplement the original report.  Hopefully, authorities will find the culprits that thought this was funny and penalize these idiots accordingly. I am hoping the power of social media will bite them in the butt.

If you recognize any of these students, please let me know!

rampant vandalism

Sticks and Stones

Sticks and stones will break your bones,  but names will never hurt you.  That’s what I was always taught as a youngster, but times have changed.  It is now obvious that those names do and have done more damage than we gave them credit for.  It is now referred to as bullying.  Names do hurt, the damage is just buried deep and not as visible.

I don’t think of myself as oversensitive, but I do admit I can remember every mean thing ever said to me.  For example, I remember a boy taunting me at the age of 12 because I was wearing a training bra.  I was an obvious late bloomer and very self-conscious about it. Did the insensitive comment ruin my life?  No, but it did hurt enough for me to remember it 45 years later.  I have never been at the (intentional) receiving end of the proverbial sticks and stones, so cannot compare the two hurts.

Bullying is rampant in today’s society.  Suicide rates are skyrocketing with bullying the leading cause.  With the availability and popularity of so many forms of social media, bullies can strike anywhere, anytime, without ever having to meet their victim in person, face to face.

When social media first came to be my eldest son was ten years old.  That was in 1999, the year AOL, Yahoo, and MSN all released their own messenger services.  All of a sudden it became very easy to (bully) say hurtful things to classmates, (former) friends, acquaintances, even strangers.  His teacher was so concerned about the hurtful comments that were going around she organized a parent meeting to warn parents and curb the bullying behaviour.   I remember telling my son then “you should never message someone things that you do not have the nerve to say to their face”

That was before every child over the age of six had their own cell phone, in fact, many parents did not yet have one.  Most of the messages sent, both good and bad, were done on a home computer.  Parents had some control over what and when their children were communicating and who they were communicating with.

Today our teens and preteens (and many adults) are glued to their cell phones, with access to everyone and everything, anywhere.  The advances in technology make it easier to do just about anything on a cell phone.

Everything except communicate face to face.

Apologies to a Stranger…

Recently my 15 year old son and I encountered a young couple on a street corner that appeared to be out for an early evening (still daylight) run.   She was sitting awkwardly on the sidewalk holding her ankle/lower leg, obviously in pain.  He was standing over her trying to help.  As we approached the couple, I rolled down my window to ask if they needed help in the form of a cellphone or ride etc.    At the same time, before the young man could respond, my son started yelling at me:  “What are you doing?  Why should we stop?  You’re so weird, talking to complete strangers!”

I am embarrassed to say my son’s outburst provoked an angry, hurt and disappointed reaction in me.  Instead of stopping to see if we could help the couple, we drove off towards home.  When I had cooled down I told my son that his reaction was not only hurtful and mean to me, but showed a complete lack of compassion towards others.  What if one of his family members or friends was hurt in a public setting and no one stopped to help?

This may sound harsh or naive on my part, but I have seen similar behaviour in some of the comments I see coming from him on facebook and twitter, even in his regular conversations with friends and family members.  I can’t help but feel his words are a form of bullying, potentially harmful to sensitive teens at the receiving end.

My son did apologize to me and agreed that stopping to help would have been the “right thing to do”  He also agreed that he would make an effort to stop the offensive comments on social media.