Quarantine Friday April 3rd

At #4

I lost the battle today. Computer failures, the world in general, and a complete lack of creativity led to a black dog day, as Churchill would say.

I should be back tomorrow.


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Quarantine Thursday April 2

Vegas, the Spazadoodle, in her glory years

Hello, people who do not know me and therefore do not worship me or give me cheese. Bonjour.

I am Vegas.

What is it like for me, The-Prettiest-Goldendoodle-in-the-World, during this time?

It has been very trying, let me tell you. I am no longer as young as I used to be, but I am still expected to do my job. I have to chase away paper deliverers, girl guide cookie sellers, UPS guys in their poo-colored jackets, and unwanted salesmen wanting to chew up our lawn or sell us alarm systems (to which I bark, Tabernac! I AM the alarm system!)

Then there’s the whole cat invasion. It used to be just the one evil, orange cat with his glowing-red eyes and razor-sharp fangs. He thought he could poop in the yard and eat birds out of the trees and wander along our fence like he owned the place.

Mais non!

I showed him. Many times. If he enters my yard, I bark at him very loudly and charge towards him as if I am going to eat him like a dropped meatball. Now, I will tell you, he sticks to walking along the fence, only.

But yesterday, another cat appeared and appeared not on the fence or in the bushes, but right on the deck from where I like to view the world like Napoleon. Now, if you asked the old, fat guy who tells me what to do, he’d say I was asleep at the time, but non mes amis, non, my eyes were closed, yes that was true, and he perhaps heard the snoring from my nose, but I was laying a trap for that cat. Oh, yes, a trap.

And this new cat, with its white tail and silly ideas, when it touched its nose to the glass sliding door, I leaped into action and barked at him so loudly that half of his fur fell off as he jumped so high into the air, I think the very sun burned him.

So, you see, even though I am old, and my joints hurt and my eyes, they can no longer see like they did, I can still be a good guard dog.

That is my role.

Being a comfort dog, well, that is another thing entirely. People, they exist to give me comfort, to rub my ears and belly when I need those things rubbed, to give me love when I want love.  To give me treats. And drop stuff on the floor so I can eat it. That is their role.

It is my role to make sure I know where everyone is at any moment. This role is, you see, very hard since the music-boy and the stinky-boy are not always here, and I have to look around all over the place to see if they are here or not.

So, at no time do I have to make sure everyone in the house is happy. Happiness is the job of chocolate.

But for the last few weeks, I have had to put my head on the lap of the music-boy when he looked anxious. I have had to sit still while the stinky-boy peeps in my ear and pats me on the head like he is beating down a lump of clay. I have had to wait for supper sometimes while the fat, old one snoozes on the couch.

I have even had to stick my nose into the face of the nice-smelling one so that she gets up and gets ready for work. She used to go out of the house for work, but now she has to stay in, but if I am not nudging her at 6am, then I fear she will sleep until 8 and be late.

They didn’t even buy me the right-sized bed – Vegas

Therefore, I ask you, for all that I do, is it not reasonable that I be carried up and down the stairs since my joints hurt? Is it not reasonable that I be given a little human food? Is it not reasonable, indeed (a basic canine right) that I not be stepped on while I sleep in my bed?

Not at all, unreasonable, right?

So, perhaps now you understand, why it is so hard these days.

As a princess, I need so little, yet give so much. Therefore, if the conditions do not improve, I promise you, a very stern letter will be delivered to management. Or I’ll poo in their bed.

Now, where is the fat, old guy? I need a chewy.

In the meantime, be safe, be healthy, and respect this new world.


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Quarantine Wednesday April 1st


Making it work.

Ok, today the boys went to be with their dad. A sad kind-of quiet descended on the house. Vegas the dog wandered around looking for her missing boys, then settled down, a little depressed. The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World held it together until they left, then cried.

But lots happened today.

The royal conservatory of music is making an effort to ensure their students can test. They’ll be in touch, but I told The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World we should email them and tell them just how loudly The-Oldest can play. Likely they can be in the Langley School of Music and still hear him. With earplugs in. And a hurricane outside.

The King of Thailand self-quarantined in Germany with 20 women. Now, this is either a guy’s greatest fantasy or his greatest nightmare. I guess it depends if one of those women is his mother or mother-in-law.

April 1st joke, liquor stores closed. When I read this, I thought, what the hell? Keeping a liquor store open is more essential than keeping our prime minister. When I learned it was a hoax, I let out a sigh of relief. It’s one thing to take a man’s toilet paper but take his beer? There’d be riots in the street.

Turkmenistan banned the word Coronavirus and are arresting people who wear masks. Apparently, they have zero cases of Coronavirus. At first, I thought this was a prank, but no, it’s crazies being crazy. You can check it out here.

BC Health Minister says “Zero chance,” physical distancing orders will be lifted in April: Also zero chance that I’ll stop eating donuts as a means of coping with all this sh*t.

This is cool

Murals honouring health-care workers painted on boarded-up Gastown print shop. I think anyone who can paint should do something like this, but since I struggle to do a handprint with poster paint, you may not see me doing any painting.

For The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World and I, these next days will be very different for us. She’s working on a list of her own, and has plans for even more learnding. Me, I’m going to work on a photobook for my uncle and see if I can figure out some of the problems with my website.

But so much of our life in the last 3 weeks has revolved around the boys, we must reconsider what we do to avoid slipping into too much sadness and despair.

Until tomorrow, be safe, be healthy and respect this new world.

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Quarantine March 31st 2020

We will miss these goobers

Tomorrow, we lose the boys.

I guess it’s something a lot of families with shared custody have to endure, but it’s still hard. Likely it was hard on their dad to do without them for 3 weeks, but it’s gonna be very tough on The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World.

I’ll explain why in a moment.

First up, outside our house, the grass grew, and the Premier of BC extended the state of emergency. Outside our house, 11% of the NY police force were sick, our high school sent us a message saying schools agonna be up and running, online, very soon. Outside our house, there were all sorts of things beyond our control.

At home, though, the boys had their last day with us and were looking forward to seeing their dad. Very understandable. By the end of the day, he came by to say a quick hello, and that he was super excited to spend time with them.

For the boys, they’ve lived in a pretty damn secure bubble for the last 3 weeks. Yes, 3 weeks, and now it’s time to change bubbles.

Here we could control what happened to them.

When they’re not here, we can’t.

I’m not saying their dad won’t take all the precautions that we did, but it’s like letting the boys go to school for the first time –  we lose that ability to ensure their safety with our own eyes.

So, knowing they would be outside our bubble, I made them watch a video on the coronavirus. It was well done, had a little bit of humor in it, but also had all the scientific fact thingees that they’d need to know.

From The-Oldest: Good information, yeah, but the soundtrack needed work, yo. (No idea why he’s added ‘yo’ to his sentences a lot these days.)

From The-Youngest: The animation was great, and they gave the coronavirus teeth, which made it kinda scary. (Yes, it is freaking scary.)

From The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World: If I hear you’re doing something silly, I’m heading over there and wrapping you in cellophane and duct tape.

It’s a hard choice to balance what to tell them. We’ve had family meetings every other day, (“Oh, Joe, not another meeting!!!), and we’ve tried to strike a balance between accurate, relevant information and scaring them so badly they don’t sleep.

With a bit of luck, everything will be fine. The boys will be safe. We’ll be safe. And the world will return to some sense of normal.

In the meantime, The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World will facetime or zoom with them daily (as much for her as for them), while I’ll work on a job list so huge that it can be seen from space.

Until tomorrow, be safe, be healthy, and respect this new world.

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Quarantine Monday March 30th.

Fortress of Solitude

Today was a day to celebrate the small miracles.

Before that, though, let’s take a look outside of our Fortress of Solitude. Parking is now FREE at hospitals. I won’t say it should have been done sooner, but it’s done now and that’s a true miracle.  We also received our first school email. Looks like homework is in the works. This does not please The-Youngest. Lastly, Victoria police were called to nine house parties over the weekend. Come-on! What is it doing to take?

Here, the big event was The-Youngest’s toe operation. He’s had a nasty ingrown toe for quite a few months and we were super glad to get it taken care of today.

That was the first of the small miracles -The operation wasn’t canceled. When he went there, he and the doctor got along like best friends. I won’t say that was a small miracle as well, but it kinda was.

Then, because The-Youngest and the doctor had bonded over the 1917 movie, the doctor did 4 little freezings to make the bigger freezing of the toe completely painless (ok, likely the doctor would have done that extra freezing anyway, but it makes for a better story if it was due to The-Youngest’s charm.)

A snarky me would say that level of compassion is amazing and might count as small miracle #3, but I’m not going to count it. The-Youngest went home delighted he felt no pain at all, but a little sad he couldn’t watch the whole operation.

The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World was horrified though. Watching her baby’s toe get cut open and skin cut off and bionic implants put in (ok, the last bit might have been my vision of what happened) was very tough on her. Any mom would understand.

The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World had the most miracles, however.

Her miracles included making her hair behave, remembering how to put on make-up, fitting into her jeans after a few weeks of stress eating, AND recalling how to drive after nearly 3 weeks in the house.

Honestly, she looked great, but I worried about her going out, so I loaded her up with one of our two remaining containers of wipes. “Wipe down the doctor if you have to!” I said.

Of her miracles, I think the making her hair behave was the most impressive – It has a mind of its own.

For Vegas, the miracle was being able to run around like a goof for about 5 min. Being old and arthritic, this is a big deal and I think she’ll pay for it tomorrow, but it was nice to see the spazadoodle return for a short time. She even ate 3 meals, when some days, she eats nothing.

All good.

The-Oldest finally conquered the tricky rhythm of the Mephisto Waltz. As usual, I have no idea how hard this thing is, but he was so excited, he bounced around the house like he’s found a cure for Covid-19 (or even better, a cure for stupidity.)

As well, (and I shouldn’t count this as a miracle, but I totally am), he’s developing some pretty impressive guns. He’s actually got muscles and they’re getting bigger. Watch out, girls, when he comes back, he’s gonna be a hunk.

For me, it was a miracle that I finally got through to my bank, but sadly, they still failed to email me information that I needed. Like many, we’re hitting a serious financial wall and we may need some short term assistance. Long term, I hope we’ll be ok, but there is a bit of a cash crunch at the moment.

Had I been really blessed, my miracle would have been, “Why yes, Mr. Joe, no problem, you and I will solve this issue in 5 min,” not “I’ll start the paperwork,” lol.

Other perhaps smaller miracles also need to be recorded for history’s sake.

I didn’t eat a bag of chocolate today.

The-Youngest actually listened to something I said (about safety precautions during this time.)

The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World didn’t wake up due to Vegas’s farting.

I didn’t hammer my finger or cut off my hand while installing another shelf.

The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World did 3 hours of learnding without falling asleep during a TED-talk.

My favourite meme for today.

We didn’t lose power, water or internet. No, wait, that’s a big one, since it’s something that we take for granted. Take that away, and all hell will break loose. Worse than all the moms going grey.

I guess what I’m trying to say is I’m grateful for the small things today, that I have a great family, that I still have a home, and that no one is sick at the moment. It’s about resetting expectations in a troubled time, a time we will remember (and talk about) for as long as we live.

Until tomorrow, be safe, be healthy and respect this new world.

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Quarantine Sunday 2


How’s everyone doing?

We’re fine here. Slow day. For a change, I wanted to talk about what some of my friends and family are doing during this crisis. But first, what’s new in the world.

Outside our house, our government is giving more money to kids and seniors, the latter via the United Way, which kind of makes sense since this is what they do. Some churches are offering drive-thru services. Can I get a double-double and a hail Mary to go, please? And, the Olympics have been canceled.

At home, The-Youngest and I installed a shelf in his room. He’s pretty damn good at carpentry, measuring twice and cutting once, making sure everything was level and didn’t once hit me with a hammer ‘by mistake.’

Meanwhile, The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World and The-Oldest watched Tiger King. It sounds like a really odd series. Like twisted. Monty-Python-on-acid-twisted.

But today, I’d also like to look at the ways my friends and family are getting through this crisis. One of my long-time online gaming friends DJ’d for a few hours, playing great music with a rocking light show. His wife even dressed up as a fox, and though I’m not sure why, it added another whole level to awesome.

I have a family member building a climbing wall. An actual climbing wall. Now, sure, he’s one of those talented guys who can build anything, (and likely would have built our shelf in 20 min, while we took 2 hours), but it’s still impressive. Can’t get to the climbing gym, heck make one!

We had some friends drop by to wish their aging grandma a happy birthday, but since they weren’t allowed in, they made signs saying happy birthday and sang for her. How cool is that?

Someone, not me, dropped off a bottle of wine for a friend who not only has been stuck at home but had his house flooded. I want to say that person was me (who dropped off the wine), but I may not be that good a friend as I didn’t even think about it!

For the past few nights, a lot of us in the neighbourhood have gone outside at 7pm and made some noise to support all the overworked and stressed healthcare workers. A few days ago, we banged hockey sticks. Tonight, hey, we got drums, so we did us some drummin’, loud and proud.

And we got our daily dose of super adorable from The-Cutest-Baby-in-the-World who smiled as soon as she saw me (boy does that melt your heart) and blew kisses at The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World. It’s so uplifting that we get to see this tiny, beautiful girl even when we can’t actually physically be with her.

Amazing right?

So, you know what? There is a ton of good being done out there. A ton. A lot of people are getting through this crisis with style, and this makes me think we’ll be fine at the end of this. Thanks to everyone who’s still working, but especially thanks to the healthcare workers who have it way worse than the news is letting on.

I hope that when they write the history of this pandemic, it will include the same words used to describe the soldiers who stormed the D-Day beaches or risked everything to save a Jewish family.

My favourite meme of the day!

For us, tomorrow should be a bit of a challenge – It’s time to have that operation on The-Youngest’s toe. He’s a brave little guy, but I won’t lie. He’s a bit scared of the pain, too.

Until tomorrow, be safe, be healthy, and respect this new world.






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Quarantine Saturday 2

An actual picture of me.

Today we were learnding stuff.

Outside the house, a referral-only drive-thru testing site was set up in Burnaby. (It’s not a Timmies). Boris Johnson announced he had tested positive for the virus, which goes to show you that anyone with bad hair can get this, too. And Italy hit 10,000 deaths, which, if nothing else, should convince anyone this is indeed a problem.

At home, I made my first journey to the grocery store. Like General Patton, I planned my attack, new my objectives, and researched the best options. I hit the grocery store at 8:10am like I was storming the Normandy Beaches.

There were about 10 people in the entire store. Distancing markers had been set up by the tills, and quantity limits had been placed on items. All good.

I had gone early to avoid the crowds and had a list of essentials. You know, chocolate, feminine hygiene products, and milk. If I could find some fruit, bread, and fresh veggies, that would be awesome. I went in, though, with no hope of finding disinfectants, TP, or singing angels.

With virtually no one in the store, I raced through it as fast as I could. They didn’t have wipes to use on the cart, but that didn’t matter, I’d brought my own and wiped the cart handles, (and the milk door handles) down about 300 times. When I used the silly credit card machine, I wiped that down, too, and did the same with my credit card (even though it was only be inserted.)

Paranoid? Maybe. Safe? For freaking sure!

The only trouble I ran into was the feminine hygiene products. I do not have a good track record with these things. One time I couldn’t figure out what to get, so I texted The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World. “Did you want heavy flow or extra strength super duper heavy flow with rainbows?” The response. “What?????” I repeated the request.

Then I realized I had texted her mom by mistake.

Oh, God!

But looking at the choices, I couldn’t find what was needed, though I read every package. Who knew there were so many choices? Who knew brand would be so important? Sadly, I made my best guess, then ran away before more female shoppers pushed by me shaking their heads.

When I got home, I wiped everything down, including myself, and packed it all away. However, with quantity restrictions, I could only get one milk, which is about what the boys go through in 2 hours. Ha. But, like Patton, I counted my adventure as a success despite some failures.

I will learn from these failures – like I learned that I cannot ‘dab’ to save my life. To ensure I don’t fail, again, I have pictures of the fem-hy products and will avoid asking people who walk by, which one of these would YOU use?

The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World did far more learnding, though. She literally spent the whole day (over 10 hours!!!) learning the keys to effective communication (and doing a typing class because she said she was good at it and wanted to feel good about something).

However, not long after finishing her communication course, she went on to scar her oldest child for life by saying something that hurt him.

She didn’t mean to hurt him, but you know us artists, we are a temperamental lot. Like me, after hearing, “You know, Joe, I love this blog except for the … ah …words,” I spent a week in the fetal position.

Then, while discussing the best way to fix The-Oldest, I realized I’d left the mic on my computer turned on and The-Youngest heard it all, including my cunning plan to fake a phone call.

Oh, God!

Epic parenting fail on my part. Always be aware of the hot mic. (A lesson I should have learned from TV!)

We sorted that blunder out as best we could, but worse case, he gets in idea how parents solve things. A plan. Some humor. And a lot of ‘we’ll see if that works.’

Then, tomorrow, I have to give MY opinion to the-Oldest.  So what do I do if I don’t like his latest piece? Do I fake a heart attack? Pretend my phone rings and, oh no, it’s the prime minister needing my advice on blogging? I dunno.

It’s tough.

The greatest thing about a dog is that they don’t care if you wore the wrong shoes, smell bad or wrote a bad blog. They love you

Anyway, that was the day. We broke The-Oldest, I did my first shopping trip in over 14 days, and The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World graduated to The-Smartest-Girl-in-the-World.

I wanna claim the day was a success, but…

Only tomorrow will tell.

In the meantime, be safe, be healthy, and respect this new world.

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