Weird is the New Normal

Weird is the New Normal

It’s been awhile since I wrote a blog specifically about what’s been going on in my life. Mostly because what’s been going on in my life has been the same as what’s been going on in everyone’s life. Lockdown, isolation, trying to keep safe as the pandemic numbers swing back and forth, waiting for the mad storm to pass.

I got used to having my husband around all the time. We found ways to work around each other – especially since teachers being off for the summer feels somewhat normal. But in September, our province announced that school would resume as normal, if a little later than usual, and my husband returned to daily classroom teaching.

It was stressful. At the time, Canada was nowhere near ready to begin with vaccinations. Both my husband and I are high risk, for different reasons. His school had a pretty robust mask policy, but we still had two scares in four months.

But despite the challenges presented by the new school year, there were benefits. My husband hated working from home. No matter how challenging it was to maintain a presence in the classroom, he welcomed the return to some semblance of normal for his job. And suddenly the house was empty again, quiet in a way it hadn’t been in months. Heaven for an introvert like myself.

We did the best we could

It’s strange to think that the pandemic has lasted for almost a year and a half. Normal has come to mean so many different things during that time. For my husband and I, the upheaval was less than for many others we know. Neither of us had to worry about our employment terminating during the pandemic. Our sources of income remained steady. Our housing situation remained secure. And we have been grateful for that every day.

For the most part, for us, our lives have marched on. I’ve been up to my ears in writing projects. I’ve also set a quite ambitious release schedule and – so far – it’s been going well. It would be a lie to say that I haven’t hidden from the harsher realities of the world during the past year and a half by burying my head in imaginary worlds. But sometimes you have to do what gets you through, and writing has certainly gotten me through.

For Christmas, I bought myself a new computer, finally making the switch from a laptop back to a desktop. It has been nothing but trouble since it arrived, but I’m working on fixing that.

As for my husband, he threw himself into streaming during the empty hours last summer and has taken a liking to it. We spent the last few months cleaning out our laundry room (left a mess by the need to clear out other parts of the house during the pandemic). Then we set up a proper streaming studio with lights and a green screen. So far he seems to really like it!

Normal doesn’t stick around long

It seems like we’ve only just settled into some semblance of new normal, and now normal is about to change all over again. My husband was able to get his first vaccination shot back in April, when the province decided it was important to get teachers and other front line workers protected. I got my first appointment a month later, in May.

My husband had a much stronger reaction to the vaccination than I did. He had a few foggy nights and certainly passed out the first evening after he got the shot. I got off light in comparison. My arm hurt so badly for the first twenty-four hours that I could barely lift it more than halfway. But I didn’t experience any sickness or brain fog – and for that I’m grateful.

Canada is just starting to do their second round of doses, so my husband and I both eagerly await our appointments. Meanwhile, we see more and more places opening their doors to the public again. Friends who have spent more than a year working from home have abandoned their makeshift schedules to return to unfamiliar offices.

But old normal is still a long way off. And in some ways, I hope the old normal will never fully return. Certainly there are benefits to people being able to work from home if it’s their preference. And our society could do with a long look at how sick leave works. Still, at the moment, I wonder how many more bumps lay along the road before we put this experience behind us. And I’m certainly eager to put this experience behind us… May you live in interesting times indeed.

Is the end finally in sight?

The last year has been crazy for reasons aside from the pandemic. Back in January I chipped a tooth. And wasn’t that fun! I may have neglected to mention it on this blog, but I have a deep terror of all things dental related. But I did find a very nice dentist to take care of it, and now I’m working on getting the rest of my mouth taken care of. But due to one of the aforementioned Covid scares, I did have to chew on one side of my mouth for most of a month.

Back in August of last year, I had another medical surprise. It turns out I have an autoimmune disorder. Possibly I’ve always had it and just never knew about it. It’s nothing major, at least not yet. But it’s the sort of thing I have to keep an eye on in case I need to start taking medication. Because leaving it untreated will lead to a whole host of other problems I really don’t need in my life.

On top of all that, we’ve been slowly renovating our house. Trying to fix all the things the previous owners did while they lived here. Trying to spruce up the space, build a new guest room area, rearrange our office. Hopefully someday we’ll clear our plate enough to remodel our kitchen.

But like the return to normal normal, some of these things will simply have to wait. Until then, I’m simply grateful that we’ve weathered the storm without too many waves trying to flip over our little boat.

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