Daily Life Lessons During Covid-19 Pandemic

For some folks, a global plague highlights a lot what they took for granted since this past March.  Or confirmed what one knew or decided long ago:

Mask-Wearing for Hours is Hot
I mean kind of sweaty.  My double-sided, non-medical cloth mask is hot to wear for several hours at room temperature. When reading a book on the plane, glasses fog up from your breath. Sage advice from the ‘Net: is to place a piece of tissue between eyeglass rim and mask edge to create an airlock. Or place medical tape on that same nose bridge place.

Homemade non-medical mask sewn to meet government rules for passengers on Canadian aircraft. Apr. 2020

Like all other passengers, we had to comply with Canadian federal government’s directive to wear masks on international and domestic Canadian aircraft, effective Apr. 20, 2020 during covid-19.

Old Habit of Stockpiling of Toilet Paper, Pasta
No worries.  I already had a stockpile of toilet paper and pasta, when mass panic buying ripped through grocery stores started in Mar. 2020.  Since we don’t have a car, throughout the year I am buying on sale and dragging home these essentials ‘cause it becomes a hassle  during very cold winter days to transport a lot of goods home when we don’t have a car. Not a big deal when buying is spaced out over many months, not in 1 day of toilet paper madness.

Prospect Point, Stanley Park. Vancouver BC 2020. Photo by J.Chong
Seagull and I social distance –thankfully. Gulls at Granville Island are known to greedily dive bomb for food. Vancouver BC 2020

Bike Shops –an Essential Service
In Alberta and various jurisdictions, bike shops are considered essential service. See under retail section here, in government edict (see under retail in link). Thumbs up for cyclists who commute already in last few years. Thumbs up for others dusting off their forgotten bikes for a refreshing bike ride on much quieter streets or now, on busier park pathways with others.

Whimsical mural art of bird flying with roll of toilet paper, urging people not to hoard. Gastown, Vancouver BC 2020. Photo by J.Becker

Didn’t Cause Flour Shortage
No, I am not inspired like other wannabes to start baking bread at home while stuck in self-isolation. I have not become one of the consumers who have drained grocery stores for weeks from their stash of flour. I just continue to occasionally make focaccia and pizza from scratch –1-2 times annually. Meanwhile flour mills across North America are working happily in overdrive to meet mass consumer demand.

Sewing a chic mask –partially out of desperation. Apr. 18, 2020

Bakery Cafe Becomes Temporary Liquor Store
Some businesses are privoting to a temporary different service or product.  General Motors, the auto manufacturer, is making face shields and other personal protective equipment. CAE, a Canadian aerospace and flight simulation equipment, software developer, is working on patient ventilators to address the national shortage for hospitals.

Our neighbourhood bakery cafe and pizza place, has become a seller of Italian wines and overly expensive dried pasta. But you wouldn’t know it –there’s no sign outside and nothing on their website.

Peace Bridge, Calgary AB 2020. Photo by J.Chong

Need a Haircut? — A Bike Helmet Hides  Alot
It’s not only women who want to look good, so do men. For past decade, I drop

Bike helmets hide shaggy hair cut, but not beards needing a trim. Granville Market, Vancouver BC 2020.

by a male-dominant international cycling ‘Net forum, enough men want the cut or they do it themselves. It’s been almost 6 months since my last layered cut at the hair salon. My curling iron, retired 7 years ago, was fired up to lift bangs hanging in my eyes.

Stuck at Home for Weeks- Dehydrating, Lonely Experience
I don’t have a home humidifier.  So I took for granted our properly humdified office building for 2,000 employees. Working from home every day full-time for last few weeks, resulted in chapped lips (even though winter is over), drier skin and drier sinuses.  Prairie air is noticeably drier than Vancouver or Toronto.  Cups of tea and occasional smoothies keeps me hydrated while hunkered over the computer.

Mural reminder on other essential workers for our health, mental and intellectual well-being for growing and contributing at large.. Vancouver BC 2020. Photo by J.Chong

I miss water cooler office talk or just occasional in-person interaction with people. Sometimes it’s just faster to solve a problem, solidify understanding by walking across the floor and chat with the person. Phoning is a problem since my employer doesn’t provide several thousand employees with their own work cell phone.  I don’t know other employees’ personal phone number unless I ask.

Social Distancing Drives Gangbuster Online Sales:  Butcher Shop
Finally Jack’s son had his online ordering launched   this mid-March, for his Toronto butcher shop. Internet online sales orders for meat, sausages, organic

Stock in Trade Butcher and Kitchen shop. Toronto 2020.

eggs and gift certificates grew from a trickle to a steady modest stream up to even midnight –6 hours after the store has closed.  In addition to walk-in customers for past 6 years, the store now provides curbside delivery for driving customers and direct home delivery.  Additional delivery staff have been hired just to handle the volume.

Social isolation at home has inspired some meat hoarders, cooking enthusiasts and up to 40% increase in total sales over previous years during same time period.

Fast Internet Service – Just In Time
Thank goodness, last year I switched to a different telecommunications company for faster Internet service . Necessary now,  when I’ve been working full-time from home for  last 2.5 months. Otherwise,  work videoconferencing for several meetings per week,  would have been a disaster for me.

Mural pays tribute to restaurant, bakeries and other food industry workers are also essential workers. Ontario St. Vancouver BC 2020. Photo by J.Chong

Appreciation of Health Care Workers, Other Essential Workers Always There 
My gratitude for health care workers has a personal edge:  I already have several siblings and other family members who are front line workers in hospitals and have been for many years.  In our family, there are 2 doctors (emergency medicine, pediatric), hospital pharmacist, a patient intake-receptionist and information technology techie who all work in such facilities.

For many years I have been grateful, to draw upon their expertise in medicine and drugs. Yes, they must wear masks at work. Yes, they must clean or set aside their work clothing separately and take a shower immediately at home before doing anything else.

Some storefronts boarded up to reduce break-ins. This one covered with mural art, dedicated to essential workers. On right, portrait of Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s provincial medical officer who frequently spoke on Albertan health requirements and trends on coronavirus-19 in the province. Vancouver BC 2020. Photo by J.Chong

In downtown Vancouver in past few months, at 7:00 pm every evening, apartment and condo dwellers from their balcony and window, are cheering, clapping, bazooka blowing and clanging cooking pots for the health care workers.  A cannon gun salute at Vancouver Harbour is blown off and tugboats blast their horns at the same time too.

Art mural on 2 metre or 6 foot distance slogan for social distancing between people. Remind to reduce virus spread. Vancouver BC 2020. Photo by J.Chong

You do get the sensation not only are the cheering folks are appreciative, but want to make happy, cheerful noise during this time death, sickness and restrictions.

Outdoor mural portrait of Canadian national Medical Officer. Gastown, Vancouver BC 2020. Photo by J.Chong. She frequently spoke on national TV on Canada’s requirements to keep public safe.

Some day, we will go back to happier times. For now, we keep distance and hopefully are learning how to live better.

Turtle pokes out its head tentatively from its protective shell. Olympic Village parkette. Vancouver BC 2020. Photo by J.Chong

13 Comments Add yours

  1. Pit says:

    Take care, and stay healthy,

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jean says:

      May you and your family be together and be safe, Pit. It’s going to be a long time before things are back to normal.


  2. Jane Fritz says:

    Lovely post, Jean. It’s nice to hear about someone else’s experiences during this trying time. I’m with you on the flour and baking! Love the mural of Dr. Tam. Stay safe.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jean says:

      Unfortunately the store owner (who allowed the artist to board up and paint her portrait) had Tam’s portrait recently removed a few days ago because owner is opening the shop again. Apparently all the murals will be at some public art display somewhere later in Vancouver.

      I probably won’t be baking until around Christmas time for a focaccia. We buy from bakery for gourmet celebratory cake or pastries. 🙂 Keep up your good blog post writing!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Jane Fritz says:

        You, too, Jean. I enjoy your perspectives.


  3. Sue Slaght says:

    Jean it was most interesting to hear how you have been affected by the pandemic and your observations. Yay for cycling! I saw a news article that Calgary bike shops can not keep up with the demand. I pulled out my sewing machine after a several decade sewing hiatus to make masks. Sending best wishes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jean says:

      I too, seldom pull out my sewing machine since it’s in another city. It’s handy for alterations. I did used to sew my wardrobe before cycling bug bit me. Great to hear from you Sue. I am hoping …no flood, no wildfire smoke this year. We don’t need more disasters on top of covid.


  4. Marta says:

    Great summary of what we’ve learned so far haha. I’ve been using masks for years (pollution) and I didn’t know of the tissue trick, haha. Although it might look weird if out and about with that. Another trick I heard (but haven’t tried) is rubbing soap on the lenses. My aunt back in Spain also made her own masks and provided the whole family (over 20 people) with 2 masks each.

    Here in China there was no hoarding at any point. Supermarkets were always open and many people usually order online and have everything delivered. I started baking bread a couple of months before everything started so I had plenty of flour. BTW, yeast was sold out in Spain for several weeks!

    Loved the street art.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jean says:

      I don’t know if yeast supply was low since I rarely bake anymore. I just run over and get the artisanal loaf from the bakery. I received 2 masks from a sister who sewed some which had a thin wire in casing at top part of mask on top of nose bridge. Apparently according to various folks, it helps with defogging of glasses too.


  5. Lani says:

    A thoughtful post, full of good photos (would expect no less from you), and a nice all around update on what’s happening in your world. Life has pretty much returned to normal. And it looks like life will be 100% back to “normal” in July. Our schools are still closed, so I’m out of work, but what are you going to do? Also, like you, we don’t have a car, so it’s backpacks and bags and essentially planning ahead. Nice mask! When will you be able to return to the office?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jean says:

      Hmm. We have not heard when we will return to the office, not even having 50% of us in office in different rotations. In our province, the health authorities are now providing covid testing for any resident…even if they don’t show symptoms. There are new cases daily, but number of people in hospitals are lower. We did have an outbreak at a huge Cargill meat processing plant which is Canada’s 3rd largest beef processing plant. Over 560 people were infected with 2 who died. A lot of the workers are immigrants or on work visas. From the Philippines…not surprising. We don’t hear much about Cambodia. Just more about what China, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan are doing…occasionally. I like my mask, even though elastic is abit tight.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Jean, this is an interesting, comprehensive post on the Pandemic and many of the realities that we are all facing while it continues. If nothing else, you’ll be able to look back and have a great journal of what was happening and how you felt about it while it was going on. As the crisis drags on and most of us are getting accustomed to the changes, I wonder how many of the measures we’re taking now will become new behaviors after the danger passes. I’m sure there will be much more thought about attending large gatherings for instance. We’ll see. All the best and take care of yourself. ~James


    1. Jean says:

      Some folks in scientific community, are saying even if/when there is a vaccine it may be effective for only a few months or so. Not forever like measles vaccination. Or like smallpox. We will continue to have nostalgic memories of social gatherings with loved ones. It’s not going to be simple for a long time.

      Liked by 1 person

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