communication, health and wellness, lifestyle, parenting, That girl in the red coat

Hindsight is 2020

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language and next year’s words await another voice.”. – T.S. Eliot.

Here we are. The first day of a new year. January 2021. I woke up this morning after sleeping through the night, a rarity this past year. I wandered into the kitchen, started the coffee maker, looked at the calendar with a sigh of relief, for 2020 was officially over. I ripped that sucker down and gently placed my new calendar in it’s place. Nothing quite like a new calendar, fresh paper and dates open to endless possibilities. As I went to throw out the old calendar, still in my “clean slate New Year’s morning bliss”, I was catapulted back to reality with a full garbage and dirty dishes all over the counter. … a reminder that the more things change, the more they stay the same, #momperks #wifeperks. I used to get so angry about that, an overflowing garbage can, dirty dishes piled up on the counter, now… not so much. Trust me when I say I still have my “I am the only one who see’s this?!” moments, they are becoming far and few between. Mostly I’ve taken to Instagram stories to get my vent on. I call them my “keeping it real” posts. There’s one today if you’re interested.

Anywho, back to the tale at hand. I don’t know about you, but wherever I turn, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, text, zoom, facetime, TikTok, you name it, there it is. You have the “fuck you 2020” posts or the “thank you 2020” posts. Today’s post is a little bit of both. You know me, it’s all about balance. Here in Ontario, we are into our second week of a lockdown. It began Boxing day. I am still working, as my store is deemed essential since we supply safety shoes, etc. We are open by appointment only for essential workers and curbside for anyone else. Let me tell you, selling shoes curbside is a trip, a trip to the Bermuda triangle. Grateful for my job, not so grateful for the ever changing policies and procedures. Balance.

This past year has taught me patience and how to let things go. It took 48 years on this planet and a global pandemic, but I finally learned patience and thanks to Elsa, and Snoop Dogg, I have a new personal anthem. (Google Snoop Dogg frozen… trust me, it’s awesome). Beginning in March, I had no say in my job, my hours, where I could go or what I could do or when or if I would have time alone in my own home. Shops were closed. Quarantine was in place. No hugs. No visits. Nada. So, I finally took my own advice that I spew out to all those I hold dear, and controlled the only thing I could, myself. When I started to feel the tightness in my shoulders and chest about having to get things done, I took a deep breath, or twenty, and let it go. I couldn’t visit friends, but I could drop off a goodie bag. Like nicky, nicky, nine door for adults. Ring the bell and run like hell. I couldn’t have my parents over for dinner, but I could go to the grocery store for them. I couldn’t celebrate life’s great and small achievements of those I hold dear and the special moments of their children, but I could send flowers, or an edible arrangement as an unexpected surprise. I’m a fixer, by nature, I just am. This past year has taught me that sometimes the best thing you can do to fix a situation is nothing. More often than not, listening is the best tool to fix any situation. My daughter and my husband like their solitude. It took me a long time to respect that and not take it personally… I’m a Leo, what can I say? This past year, instead of worrying that something was wrong, I took it upon myself to enjoy the quiet and allow myself some solitude too. … Oh yeah, I still peeked my head in my daughter’s room at least once a day with a typical “How ya doin?” mom tone, or a “Hey baby” from across the room to my hubby. Balance.

The biggest personal realization about 2020 that I’ve had? I’m a little full of shit. Yep. All those years I said “I don’t have time!”. Guess what, I did, and I do. I finally got around to all those things I “didn’t have time” for, like framing prints, organizing my kitchen, getting paperwork in order, cleaning the garage… all of the above only took 4 hours. Guess what sunshine, you did have time, you just believed you didn’t.

The toughest realization was and continues to be that not everyone sees injustice. 2020 brought some ugly truths to the forefront of our lives, unfortunately many refuse to see it. I for one see it and will continue to try to help others see it too. I will continue to say Black Lives Matter. I will continue to speak the names of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and so many others. I will continue to share and speak of the injustice set upon the Native community. I will continue to share and speak of the inequality of those with disabilities, of women’s rights, human rights. I will continue to share and speak for those without a voice. I will continue to share uplifting news, motivational quotes from Oprah, Mel Robbins, Tank Good News and other personal favorites. I will continue to share music to feed your soul. For those who don’t agree with me, that’s okay. I get it. This is my journey. That is yours. I wish you safe travels. Balance.

The events of 2020 are to be remembered, not re-lived. We are more alike than different. We all deserve to be heard, to be seen, to matter. The actions of one can affect the lives of others, be it positive or negative. We may not all be in the same boat, we are all in the same ocean. Throw a life preserver when you can, and ask for one when you need one. Wear a mask. Seriously, wear a mask. At the end of the day, wouldn’t it feel great to know you that you may have saved a life. That you may have kept a roof over the head of a family because wearing a mask kept the breadwinner of that household healthy. That you thought of someone other than yourself. Trust me, it feels pretty damn good.

I came across a quote that fits me and this past year, “I’m mostly peace, love and light. … and a little go fuck yourself.”. Balance.

health and wellness, lifestyle, That girl in the red coat

Golden Rule

Golden Rule (noun) – an important principle that should be followed when doing something in order to be successful; a guiding principle. – Merriam-Webster dictionary.

“do unto others as you would have them do unto you” – Matthew 7:12

I haven’t written in a while. I know, last month I wrote how I was going to get back to it. I wanted to be sure I could be as articulate as I could. You see, lately when I open up my laptop to write, all that comes through these finger tips is rage and profanity. Frustrated doesn’t even come close to how I feel most days. Between all things Covid, working in retail during a pandemic, worrying about my loved ones and their emotional health, let alone my own and the Cheeto that refuses to concede and the people that support his lunacy, lets just say fabulous isn’t my go to “f- word” lately. My biggest peeve as of late, is this whole debate over masks. Seriously. Masks. This is the biggest issue for people right now. Really? A piece of cloth covering your mouth ….and nose, is a problem. I don’t get it. I really don’t.

Now, before you troll me with insults, calm down and hear me out. Yes, I know people have medical reasons not to wear one. That being said, I have personally helped a young woman with Cystic Fibrosis, who wore a mask. I have also helped two elderly women with portable oxygen tanks, who wore a mask. These are people who literally cannot breathe, yet they wore a mask, because “it’s the right thing to do.” – their words, to me, when I offered they could remove their mask if it was too difficult for them to breathe.

For those who won’t wear a mask because of the belief that Covid is a hoax, well, it’s not. The numbers are climbing, plain and simple. I have heard people say “Well, I don’t know anyone who has it!”, to you I say, I don’t know anyone with Polio but I know it’s real. Those who say wearing a mask and Covid is a government plan to control us, just stop. Here in Canada the government offered $2000.00 a month to it’s citizens, for 8 months and counting. …. trust me when I say the government is not known for giving us money. Stating Covid is a hoax is an insult to those who have lost their life. It’s a slap in the face to all health care workers and their families, and it makes you sound like an ass. It just does.

Here’s the deal. This is not about you. This is about us. It is about doing the right thing. In life, doing the right thing is seldom easy or painless, except this time. Doing the right thing during a pandemic is to wear a mask. That’s it. For the majority of people, it means wearing a mask for 20 – 30 minutes if you venture out, no biggie. For many, myself included, it means wearing a mask for at least 9 hours a day, 5 days a week. No biggie.

At the end of all this, if we find out masks weren’t necessary, I’m fine with that. I have no problem knowing I did what I could with the information I had. If I end up looking the fool for wearing a mask, I’ve looked the fool for a hell of a lot more.

Merriam-Webster’s definition states the Golden Rule as a noun. It’s time to make it a verb.

Business, communication, health and wellness, lifestyle, That girl in the red coat

Tales of Truth – The Covid-19 Diaries

Here we are, day whatever of Covid-19. Some of us are still on lockdown, some are self isolating, some are in Phase 3 of reopening, some are back in Phase 2. Many are sick, and sadly many have left this earthy realm far too early. Parents are scrambling for daycare and with every sneeze their child has, worrying if their child will be allowed to go to school that day, all with the ever constant worry if they will have a job tomorrow. Teachers are trying to educate and discipline via Zoom. The list of change is endless. The one thing that hasn’t changed is retail. Yes, I realize the nature of retail has changed, the one constant is the behavior of the customer. Many are great, but as always, there are always those precious few that explain why there are warning labels on detergent. Here’s a glimpse of what retail life has been like over the course of the last few months, pre and post mandatory masks.

  • Social distancing is a concept many cannot grasp. Keeping 6 feet away from each other seems too hard to comprehend. I mean, I understand that all our lives women have been “told” what 6 inches is, but come on.
  • I have been called a bitch because I asked a customer, who was not wearing a mask, to back up so I could get her shoe for her.
  • My coworkers and I have been purposely coughed on while being told “Well, you got a mask”.
  • I’ve been told I’m a hoax believing lemming because I was disinfecting surfaces that countless numbers of people touch.
  • I had a customer tell me “I’m a truck driver that goes to the U.S. all the time. I’m supposed to be quarantining right now, but they can’t make me! I got a life to live!”.
  • Before mandatory masks, I was laughed at, pointed at, smirked at, told to “Speak up! I can’t understand you!” or ignored by customers because I chose to wear a mask.
  • I’ve had complete strangers walk right up to me, rub my arms and say “It’s too bad no one is taking Covid seriously”. … six feet Karen. Six feet.
  • A woman kept taking her mask off to sneeze, then touch her face, then touch the product, then put her mask back on.
  • A woman clipped her toe nails to see if that would make the shoe fit better. I shit you not. Pulled out her nail clippers in the store and clipped away.
  • A woman continued to stand right beside me, even after asking her to move away. Then complained that she couldn’t sit beside a woman (who was 6 feet away) because of Covid. …sigh
  • Every day, I am asked when stock is going to arrive, and many woman do not like that I don’t know. Some even get angry, some pout, some even tell me “This and you are bullshit”. FYI – many products weren’t even made. …pssstttt, China was shut down for months too.
  • Grown men have yelled at our part time teenage girls who ask them to sanitize before entering the store. Literally losing their shit, waving their arms, yelling “masks and hand sanitizers are bullshit”.

I could go on, you have no idea for how long. There have been lovely customers too.

  • I’ve been thanked for working during the past 5 months.
  • I’ve had customers give me a cash tip for helping them.
  • I’ve helped make our elderly customers feel comfortable and safe.
  • A woman with a portable oxygen tank had her mask on. I could see she was struggling. I told her she could pull it down for a moment if she needed. She said “No. It’s the rule and I want to protect you and me.”.
  • I’ve had customers come to my defense when another customer isn’t being so nice.
  • My coworkers and I have each others back.
  • My boss and the owner have come to our defense with irrational customers. They will come and take over the sale for us.
  • My work place is doing their best to protect us.

Here’s the deal. Believe it or not (that’s your choice), Covid-19 is here, and it’s gonna be around for a while. Be prepared that you may not get the fall boot you’ve had your eye on. There are stock shortages everywhere – tried to get any Lysol wipes lately? I get it. It’s frustrating. It’s a royal pain in the ass. Wearing a mask isn’t fun – try wearing one for 9+ hours a day. I know you miss your friends and family, so do I. I too miss the days of my only morning thought on my way to work was “What should I make for dinner”. It sucks. Plain and Simple. How about trying not to make it suck more for yourself and others.

Be kind. Be patient. Think about others. Try to remember every sales person is doing the best they can, some days better than others, some days worse, no one is perfect. Try to remember, just like you, they have no control over what is happening. All we can do is control ourselves.

Business, communication, health and wellness, That girl in the red coat

Tales of Truth – The Covid-19 Diaries

Well, I know what day it is, finally! Yours truly has just finished a 45.5 hour work week in 5 days. Going from 2 months off and life going at my own pace to meal prep, schedules and watching the clock was tough. Physically, emotionally and mentally. It’s a new world out there folks. It is not business as usual. As you know, from my last post, Ontario has reopened store front retail stores. I don’t know how it’s been for other shops, let me tell you, we were busy. My employers have been fantastic. Truly going on and above to help their staff feel safe. Social distancing measures in place. People manning the door to control the flow of people entering and exiting the store. Hand sanitizer wherever you turn. A sanitizing spray to use on every item touched or tried on. Gloves and masks available if we need them. For this I am grateful. The majority of the public at large have been behaving themselves. They listen to our instruction about not touching everything, to ask for our assistance. To be patient with us, for a sale may take longer than usual. Unfortunately, their have been the “others”. … think Fox news and you’ll get what I’m putting down. So, me being who I am and keeping it real, I thought I share some of the good, the bad and the ugly. Let us start with the ugly and end with the good.

  • we were open all of 20 minutes when a grown man asked to use the bathroom. Under Covid-19 restrictions, all public bathrooms are closed. I apologized and told him we couldn’t open the bathroom to him. He told me “I really gotta go!” to which I apologized once more. He leaned in and said “Fine. I’ll just go take a piss in your parking lot! How’d you like that?”.  …sigh
  • A man kept looking at me as I was helping a woman, so as I walked past I said hello. He smirked at me and said “nice mask” then chuckled. I stopped, looked him straight in the eye and told him my mother made it for me. He then looked down and told me it was a nice mask.
  • I was helping a couple and my coworker looked over at me wide eyed because the couple was so close to me their shoulders were touching mine. … this is after I asked for them to move back. *this is one more reason I wear my mask
  • I asked a woman to please step back. She told me she never gets sick so she couldn’t have anything and didn’t move. I asked her again to please step back and she told me she didn’t know what the big deal is since things aren’t as bad as the news says, and still didn’t move. I told her if a bylaw officer comes in she could be fined. She moved.
  • A women laughed at my coworker, and 17 year old girl, and told her the sanitizing spray we were using on our products was, and I quote “Bullshit. It doesn’t do anything.”.
  • I lost count of the people complaining the government opened things up to early… as they were standing in our store, buying things.
  • At least 10 times a day I was told “I’m sick of this shit! I have rights!” …. blah, blah, blah.

 

Now for the good;

  • A visually impaired lady was worried about me. She had to get close to me to see the shoes she was buying. Before she leaned in she asked me if I was comfortable helping her. Asked me if I needed a mask. I leaned in so she could see my mask, I thanked her for her kindness and told her I was fine helping her out.
  • An elderly gentleman came in with his hands in his pockets, told me he wasn’t being rude, he was keeping his hands in his pockets to remind himself not to touch anything and ask us to help him.
  • A little boy, maybe 4 years old scolded his mother. All I could hear from a row over was “Mommy! They said no touching! You need to listen!”.
  • Many people, especially our elderly customers were very kind. Very thankful for our help. A few told me they missed us and were happy to see we were all okay.
  • A bride and I were almost in tears together. Her wedding had been cancelled, she couldn’t get any of her deposits back and the shoes she had ordered were delayed online. She had made alternate wedding plans but still no shoes and had a limited budget. We had the exact pair and size she needed, at the price she needed too. She was so happy, she couldn’t stop smiling.

The owner and my manager have been terrific. We can text them if we are overwhelmed. We can take a break if we need it. When a customer doesn’t want to abide by the new health regulations, my boss gives them the option to do so or leave. They have our and every customers best interest at heart.

I know we’ve all been cooped up for too long. I know you just want to get out. All I’m asking is you do so in a proper, kind and courteous manner. Abide by the regulations. Wash your hands. Use the sanitizer provided. Practice social distancing and keep 6 feet apart. Stop touching everything you see. Please try to remember that the staff that is helping you is dealing with the new regulations as well. We are trying to adjust to the “new normal” too. We are anxious too. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring either. We have to wait in line at the grocery store too. We have worries about our kids going back to school or who’s going to watch our kids this summer. If our parents are going to be okay. The list is endless.

Remember, we are all in this together. It may not be in the same boat, but it is the same water.

health and wellness, That girl in the red coat, writing

Tales of Truth – The Covid-19 Diaries

It’s official. Day 60 of Covid-19 lockdown has arrived. I have officially been home for 2 months. After 47.5 years on this planet I made bread. I made jam. I decorated the squirrel feeder my hubby made me with my daughter’s old Barbie toys… cake, teapot and cups. I’ve done 18 puzzles. Read a few books. Ran errands for friends and family. Strategically planned grocery store runs and produce pick up. Cooked every damn day. Emptied the garbage…. don’t even get me started on the fact that there are two other adults in my house. Woke up every day wondering what day it was. Went a little overboard with online shopping and I have to admit I have forgotten some of what I purchased. Every time I hear the door bell I wonder what will be waiting for me outside. A puzzle? A book? Baking supplies? A zebra?

Well, as of tomorrow I will know the date as it is time for yours truly to head back to work. The province of Ontario has given the go ahead for retail stores with a street store front to reopen. … and I gotta admit, I’m a little nervous.

I know how fortunate I am to have a job waiting for me. Many employees and owners of small businesses, large and small cannot say the same. The owners and management of my store have all the PPE we need, masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, sanitizer spray for all surfaces, social distancing measures in place and for this I am grateful. I am confident in myself and my co workers to abide by the new policies and procedures, not so confident of the general public. Before you start in on me about my previous statement, I’m just keeping it real people. I know most of us are behaving ourselves. I also have it on good authority that some are not. … and no, my source is not Fox News or CNN. Many people I know have been working with the public since day one of the Covid-19 crisis and unfortunately have run into some people that are, lets say, from the shallow end of the gene pool.

As of late, every time you turn on the television or scroll social media, someone, somewhere has a new theory. A new opinion. That Covid-19 isn’t that bad. That it’s a government plot. The Democrats made it up to bring down Trump. That the aliens are behind it all. I could go on but I fear I may start to gag. Here’s the deal;

  • I’m no expert but I’m pretty sure the government is not behind the lock down. In the past, their claim to fame hasn’t been their financial generosity.

 

  • As for the people that say “it’s not so bad” … ummm, yeah it is. It just seems not so bad to you because you are healthy.

 

  • The Democrats did not make this up. Democrats are getting sick too. … and as for Trump, he is so low there is no way to bring him down any lower.

 

  • As for the aliens….I got nothin’.

Unfortunately we are also privy to;

  • Many a “Karen” on social media and in person I’m sorry to say, ranting about having to wear a mask.

 

  • I’ve heard a grown man in the check out line at the grocery store shout “It ain’t my fault for the virus! Whatcha so afraid of? Open up another damn cashier!” – by the way, this gent was wearing a mask and gloves. I finally saw an oxymoron in human form.

 

  • People complaining about having to follow the arrows on the floor at the grocery store. Yes. It’s a pain. Yes. It can be a nuisance. No, it’s not okay to shout at the 15 year old employee about how much of a pain and nuisance it is.

 

I get that masks are uncomfortable. So are ventilators. I get that standing 6 feet apart is a nuisance. I would rather stand 6 feet from someone then not being able to be 6 feet near someone if they are in the hospital. I get it’s scary. We aren’t in total control anymore… like we ever really were. Every day there seems to be a new rule. It can be hard to grasp what’s what. I get it. You gotta remember. We are all in this together. I don’t mean in a “kumbaya” sort of way, not even in a “we’re in the same boat” kind of way. What I mean is, more often that not, we are all anxious. We are all weary. We are all suspicious. We are all sad. We are all wondering what’s next for us and for the world. We are all trying to adjust to this new normal. We are all hopeful. No matter your age, race or gender, we all wake up everyday feeling one or all these things.

Wear a mask when needed or asked. Be kind. … and wash your damn hands.

 

*Side note, I know some Karens that are actually quite nice.