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Monday, September 21, 2020

Covid, Smoke and now...... WOLVES?!?

It’s been months since my last post. In some ways it seems a long time, in other ways not very long at all. Covid cases are once again on the rise.

 My wife and decided in June it was safe enough to maybe isolate at our cottage on Gambier Island in Howe Sound, about an hour’s travel from our home here in South Surrey. We decided to hunker down there. We had so much stuff that we had to charter a water taxi to take it all over.

We figured we’d be safe there. Wrong! Now there’s a new threat: wolves. Yes, you read that right: wolves. The first indication that there was something new on the island was the scat. For those of you who don’t know what scat is it’s basically a typo for shit. I knew it might be wolf poo when I first saw it on the path as it contained bits of red fabric and pieces of a picnic basket. My fears were confirmed when our neighbours trail cam picked up numerous shots of them posing behind his cottage. The good news is that they appear to be Covid aware wolves as they are social distancing.  It appears that there’s now a litter of wolf pups.  My granddaughters are pressuring me to get them one.  I told them I’d need help.  They’d have to dress up like Little Red Riding Hood.  When the wolfs come up to grab the picnic basket they can reach down and grab a pup, put it into the basket and run over to me.  They seem to have lost their enthusiasm for a wolf pup.  Don’t understand it.

 I like to hike every morning, but now I take a can of bear spray. I’ve never had to use it, and my friend Dave advised me not to use it under any circumstances. “Why?” I asked. “Are you afraid of the damage it will do to wildlife?” “No,” he replied. “I’ve watched you put on mosquito spray. Half the time you have the nozzle facing the wrong way and spray yourself in the face.”

 So we packed up and came home – just in time for the smoke. I awoke the other day to be informed we tied Portland Oregon for the worst air quality on earth! The air quality is so bad you have to chew it before you inhale it. The good news is that the weather is supposed to break soon and the winds will shift from the South to the West. I’m just waiting until they swing all the way north and instead of bringing hot sticky smokey weather from California will bring icy cold smokey weather from Siberia that are just as bad or worse than the fires down south. 

We’ve been very smug here in BC about the wonderful way that the NDP government and Dr. Bonnie were handling Covid. In June we were down to single digits – not of deaths – but cases. Imagine less than 10 cases a day! Today the count is 166 cases and growing. So much for being nice and kind. It’s time to take the gloves off! Time to get tough! They’ve just started to fine scofflaws. Is it working? No. One idiot had a party. The cops warned him twice BEFORE handing him a thousand dollar fine. Did it work? Not at all. He had ANOTHER party the next night. He doesn’t care. He’s NEVER going to pay the fines, and if the government is as aggressive about collecting COVID fines as they are traffic fines, he’ll never have to pay. 

I have a better idea. One I guarantee will work. It worked in medieval times and it will work now. It’s tried and true: Stocks. Public humiliation works! 

Lock the scoffers into the stocks and invite passerbys to toss fruit and vegetables that have been rejected by the Food Bank at them. (Masks will be mandatory and they will have to stand on the designated spots). Show it on the evening news. I guarantee they won’t do it again. 

I think the time for niceness is done. Dr. Bonnie just doesn’t have the backbone. You all remember your elementary school teachers (other than grade one – we all loved our grade one teachers. It’s the ones that came later). The ones that always tried the kindness routine only got away with it for so long – until some students (me) realized they had no backbone and wouldn’t send me to the office if I stood up in class and dropped my pants and mooned her. These teachers usually lasted about one term before they ran screaming out into the parking lot, never to return. 

It’s time for someone new. Someone with a backbone and I have the perfect candidate: Nurse Ratched. For those of you who don’t recognize the name, here’s how Wikipedia describes her: 

Nurse Ratched (also known as "Big Nurse") is a the main antagonist of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, first featured in Ken Kesey’s novel, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, as well as the film. A cold, heartless tyrant, Nurse Ratched became the stereotype of the nurse as a battle-axe. 

You stick her up in front of the TV cameras to warn you if you’re caught without a mask, she’ll suck your brains out through your eyeballs. You don’t believe me? Just ask Jack Nicholson. 

Given the dramatic rise in cases, I think it’s only a matter of time until I get a call from a contact tracer telling me I may have been infected. 
“Hello, Is this Mr. Groberman?” “Yes. Who’s this?”
 “I’m a contact tracer from the Ministry of Health. You may have been exposed to Covid 19. I need a list of all your contacts over the last two weeks.”
 “Okay, last Friday I bought some deli at the supermarket. I had a mask on, as did the lady serving me.”
 “Okay, got that.”
 “… and on Tuesday I was at the liquor store. The lady there also had a mask on and was behind plexiglass.”
“Yes, continue please Mr. Groberman.”
“That’s it.”
 “Two contacts?” 
“Yup, that’s my bubble.”

 So now I’m hunkering down again. To quote my good friend Dave when I asked him what he was doing lately. “Trying not to die.”

 I hope all of you are keeping safe, and wearing a mask and practicing social distancing… our I’ll sick Nurse Ratched on you.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

I'll take Queen Elizabeth for the block.....

It’s been a while since I’ve last written, and let me tell you a lot hasn’t happened!  I’ve been stuck at home so long I don’t bother putting in my hearing aids, I mean who I’m going to talk to?  This has led to an interesting conversation with my wife, when I was commenting about the news I was listening to on CNN.  Initially I thought they were talking about “Black Wives Matters.” Lest you think I’m making this up I always thought the song “North to Alaska” lyrics were “North to Alaska…  North to Russia’s zone.”  It wasn’t for nearly forty years I learned that they were actually “North to Alaska…  North the rush is on.”  My friend Dave nearly snorted a pint of beer through  his nose  when he heard me singing along to the song at the pub. 

While watching the same news I saw a piece showing the queen trying to use Zoom to connect to all her family.   It looks like she was having as much success as I had trying to use it.   I don’t know about you but whenever I see that Zoom grid the first thing that comes to mind is Hollywood Squares. 
I’ll take  Lizzy, Peter,  to block.”

The only thing missing On Zoom is is the “X’s” and “O’s”   Evidently there were issues.  Lizzy showed up early and left early.  I imagine the conversation might have gone like this…
Lizzy:   Hello?  Hello?  Can you hear us? 
Phillip:  “Do you mean us as in you and I are you talking about the royal “us?”
Lizzy:  “We can see you, can you see us?   No, Phillip, Don’t touch that.   That’s the mute button.  
Phillip:   “I know I’m trying to mute Andrew before he gets us into any more trouble.”
Lizzy:   “Try that button.   (pause)  Where did everyone go?  Hello?”
If that isn’t bizzare enough it appears that CNN has finally run out of people to have town halls with.  They’re now having  town hall meetings with the cast of Sesame Street to discuss racism.  I watched about ten minutes and decided it wasn’t very real.  If Sesame Street was a real place you’d have Big Bird chanting “Yellow Lives matter!”  and footage of Oscar the Grouch tossing his garbage can through the front window of Target and making off with a microwave.  

I’m also receiving some interesting email about services re-opening.  Recently I received a post from the dentist informing me that they will be reopening.  They’ve informed me they’re taking extra measures to keep me safe – including “sterilizing all the instruments between patients!”  What were they doing before?  Wiping them off on their smock? 

I go out the odd time for groceries, and now instead of being an exciting adventure it’s an exercise in frustration.  EVERY store seems to have those stupid arrows painted on the floor.  Now you have to walk in loops around the whole store.  No backtracking.   It’s like going to IKEA.  I will tell you with absolute certainty if I go to hell and the devil gives me a choice of sitting in warm shit up to my nose or having to spend eternity wandering around IKEA I will chose the former!   Some of the stores have vinyl arrows attached to the floor, and the kid in me has been tempted to peel them up and re arrange them.  Probably will end up being adding the establishments to the places I’ve been banned for life!

 As you can see I’ve been cooped up too long so  my wife agreed it was time for us to get out a bit more.   Our province is entering phase two, some travel is allowed so my wife and I packed up the car and headed to our cottage – about an hour and a half away.  In normal times we would have opened the cottage in early April, but these aren’t normal times.

As I no longer have a boat I’m at the mercy of the pirates who run the water taxis.  There used to be scheduled runs where the water taxi would take up to 20 people, dropping them off at various cottages around the island.  But with social distancing that’s no longer an option – now it’s chartering the whole boat, which in this case was a good idea as we had so much stuff it filled up half the boat!   The water taxi company claims they are sanitizing the boat after each run; but I’m wondering what they’re using as soon as I sat down on the seat I stuck to it.  It wasn’t the sticking that bothered me so much as imagining how much it was going to hurt when I had to get up. ( I had a flash back to my childhood when my dad protected his car seats with clear vinyl which heated to about 800 degrees in the sun, and gave your legs third degree burns when you sat down.)

Once we arrived we were immediately visited by our neighbours who were glad to seeing ‘fresh meat’ after having been islolated up there for two months.  This led to the island version of Covid shuffle.  Unconsciously they take a step towards you, you take a step backwards, they step forward, and you slowly move across the entire deck like dancers at a cotillion.    At least I was spared the hugging.  There are a lot of huggers up there.  (no that’s not a misspelling). 

Normally we’d see a cruise ship or two pass by the front of the cabin on the weekends – but won’t be seeing that this year – just the BC Ferries, that are starting to run again, despite the ferry workers worried about passengers becoming hostile when they’re told to wear a mask.  I don’t understand why they should be concerned.  I suggested they simply adopt an old venerable method of dealing with unruly passengers – simply run a plank off the upper deck, and put a sign up saying “non mask wearers this way – please.”  I added the please because we are Canadians and politeness counts.  It works perfectly with the pirate theme they already have with the White Spot food on board….   Pirate Pak anyone?

That’s what’s (not) happening now.  Keep Safe, Keep Smiling…