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.

Beauty, communication, Hair Care, health and wellness, That girl in the red coat

Safe at home

I woke up this morning wondering what day it was. As the majority of us around the globe are in self isolation or quarantine, I am sure you wake up wondering the same thing. Wondering what day is it? Is there any new information available today? Are my parents alright? Are my friends holding up okay? Should I be working out? Should I get dressed? What can I do to help? … these are the questions I bombard myself with before I’ve even had my first cup of coffee. I try to distract myself by posting something funny on Facebook, or sending a upbeat song to my friends which usually snaps me out of it. Today, not so much. So I ventured out to my garden, the sun just beginning to shine, to check on my squirrel feeder. Yes, you read that correctly. I was complaining to my hubby that the squirrels were attacking the bird feeder, so he made me a squirrel feeder. I’m thinking of adding a bowl…

Back to the tale at hand. So there I was, in my robe checking on my squirrel feeder, when it came to me. We are living in crazy times. We are in uncharted territory. I’ve said it before and will keep on saying it, we can’t control the world around us, but we sure as hell can control our part in it.

“You are not stuck at home. You are safe at home.”. I came across this last week and it has stuck with me. We need to change our mind set folks. If your sitting at home wanting to help but not knowing how? Guess what? Sitting at home is the best way to help. It may not feel like it but it is. Staying at home keeps you healthy and in turn those in your household healthy and in turn all others healthier. As an added bonus, staying home makes you one less person  our beloved doctors, nurses and all health care/front line workers need to worry about.

You can do your part by calling on your neighbours. Texting friends and loved ones. If you are in good health, drop off supplies or a little care package, leave it by the door and send a text/give a call “check your front door”. If out for a walk, say Hello to anyone you see. Social distancing means physical distancing – don’t be an ass to your fellow man. Turn off the news. Only watch when a leader or expert is on giving new information… except for Trump…please do not listen to him. Your local Food Bank offers online donations… trust me, the Food Bank can stretch a dollar further than you could imagine. Support local businesses by ordering online from them. Many offer etransfer and curb side pick up. Call your stylist to see if she has any hair products in stock to sell before venturing out to the drugstore for your shampoo.

It’s easy to feel helpless in these times. There is so much you can do. The best of which is to stay home. Plain and Simple. … and wash your hands.

 

 

Beauty, health and wellness, lifestyle, Sunday Confessions, That girl in the red coat

Sunday Confessions

Here we are. Day whatever of social distancing. This past Friday I ventured out to the grocery store. For the first time in I don’t know how long I didn’t put any makeup on. Didn’t even fill in my eyebrows… the nineties thin brow was not my friend. Who knew it would take a virus to finally be comfortable with my looks, to let go off whatever ideals I had created in my head. Yep. Sorry to say, I have been known to think of myself as ugly, fat, take your pick of self deprecating thoughts or phrases, I have used them. Hell, when we were first engaged, my husband took me to see Phantom of the Opera and I had a freak out, total meltdown thinking I was too ugly to go. … yes, I see the irony in this… I was about to see a show about a dude with  a burned face wearing a mask. So, going out without make up on is a big deal for me. Since the breakout of COVID-19, I have felt a shift. Sometimes anxiety, sometimes sadness, but mostly a true sense of what matters and what does not.

I used to wake up every morning thinking of my “to do’s”, my “gotta haves”. I would practice meditation and proper breathing, or so I thought. It wasn’t until this outbreak that I realized I never took a moment to actually check myself. I find myself checking my breathing everyday, throughout the day. I stopped focusing on my weight and am now focused on my health, mental, emotional and physical. *Confession – I am still smoking, keeping it real. I find myself waking up to thoughts of loved ones and friends and wondering what I can do for them, if they need anything, not the usual “I look puffy today”, “did I drink enough water yesterday”, “I really gotta exercise more” thoughts. I find myself finding reasons to laugh and spread some happiness instead of just going along with the status quo. I have always been someone to find the good… drives my friends and family nuts most of the time. This past week, I have made it my mission to find the good, all the time, and when found, share the shit out of that sucker. You tube video’s, my favorite songs, jokes, Sir Patrick Stewart reading sonnets on Twitter, Yo-Yo Ma playing the cello on Facebook, TankGoodNews fabulous posts on Instagram, you name it, if it’s joyful or positive, I’m sharing it.

I know things are scary right now. The unknown always is. The lack of control can be overwhelming. We may not be able to control what’s happening but we can control ourselves. Check on friends, loved ones and neighbours. If allowed, take a surprise care package, leave it at their door and call them to let them know there is a surprise for them at their door. Write a letter. Call them, many people are alone in this and would love to hear another voice other than their own. Send thank you’s to health care providers. When you are out getting ONLY the necessities, be sure to thank all the employees you see, ask the cashier how they are doing, smile and say hello at everyone you see. Social distancing does not mean ignoring people. Stay home if and when you can. It’s not about you as it’s about everyone else. Having trouble staying put? Think of it this way… when someone gets sick and has to be hospitalized, they are alone. No visitors or loved ones allowed. Stay home.

 

Social distancing is the new norm. Many are in self isolation. Many are in quarantine. No matter which country you live in, whatever your political view or your spiritual practice, all of that really doesn’t matter anymore. We are one. We are all in this together. We are all in the same boat and it’s time to throw some life preservers.

Beauty, health and wellness, parenting, That girl in the red coat, Women

Tips from a pre-Internet Mom

Today’s tale is for all the parents out there who are realizing day care providers are saints and teachers deserve a raise.

No matter where you are in the world today, you are most likely at home with your children. COVID-19 has created a new normal for us all. I am 47 and my daughter is 23, so I am not facing nearly the amount of stress that many of my friends and the women I know that have children aging from 1 week old to 18.    …that being said my husband and daughter have taken to creating a new language. No words, just sounds…so there’s that. As I was having my coffee this morning, waiting on the muffins to bake, my mind flooded with memories of when my daughter was little. I was a stay at home Mom until she went to school. There wasn’t much daycare around and the daycare that was available, well, lets just say, any money I earned would have gone to her care. To be completely honest, I really hadn’t thought it through. I was 25 when I had my daughter and life was going good. My husband was working his ass off to provide a good income. Then life threw us a curve ball. Lesson learned – things change in the blink of an eye, so you gotta have a plan B, you gotta. So my husband and I decided I would stay home. So there we were, one income, one vehicle and limited funds for extra’s. … oh, and no internet. So I had to get creative.

If you’re stuck in a rut with your kids and about to run down the street screaming “I don’t care if your bored!”, I feel you and I got your back. I’m going to give you some ideas of what to do. They may seem a little corny, remember, I am a pre-Internet Mom.

  • hide shiny objects around the house and have a treasure hunt
  • add food coloring to water and VOILA! Water color paint.
  • put down a blanket in the living room and have a picnic
  • build a fort. Drape old sheets over all the chairs and table in your dining room or kitchen. Use books to weigh down the corners. Put the chairs on their sides to make tunnels.
  • if you own Lego, have a Lego building competition. Put a timer on for 45 minutes. …this way you get 45 minutes to sit your ass down.
  • make muffins or cupcakes. Have your child count out loud the number of liners, teaspoons, cups of water, hell even how many times you have to stir the batter. They are learning and creating.
  • I once had my daughter see how many sticks she could find in the backyard.
  • pop some popcorn and have a movie date – at 10 in the morning. Trust me, it’ll blow their minds.
  • have a dance party
  • pull out the good dishes and have a fancy lunch
  • play dress up with your kids, let them choose your outfit.
  • have your kids do your hair. Scary, I know. They want to take care of you as much as you want to take care of them.
  • go for a walk. Ask them what they are thinking about. Trust me, they’ll tell you.
  • get them to help with chores. Age appropriate chores of course. I would always start with “Could you help me?” when my girl was young. Now it’s more like “Go do that.”.
  • fill the tub and have a pool day
  • play catch, with anything.
  • teach your child a card game
  • play a board game
  • do a puzzle together, or separate and see who finishes first
  • if you have a teen, may God be with you.

I don’t know if this will help, I hope it will. You gotta think outside of the box when you are entertaining/taking care of kids. When it comes down to it, they just want your time and your attention. Just like us, they want to be seen. They want to be heard. They want to know they matter. As my Gramma Leah used to say “It’s long days and short years with children.”. I know it’s frustrating and even tedious at times. I promise you, you will look back on this and be grateful for these times…well most of them.

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

It’s been a time

Here we are. March 22, 2020. I work in the Ladies department at a local shoe store. The shop finally made the decision to close up shop last Thursday evening. Let me tell you, it felt like 20 pounds had been lifted off my shoulders. I don’t think I’ve meditated or gotten “right with Jesus” so much in my life as I did everyday last week. Every morning I would be getting ready to go to work with a sense of dread… not the usual retail job dread. Trying to quiet my mind from all the what if’s, what’s happening, it is safe questions swirling around in my head. I cannot even begin to imagine how all our beloved health care workers are feeling. My hat goes off to them and my heart goes out to them.

Many people are abiding by the new social rule of social distancing, self isolating and such… and many, I am sorry to say are not. This past week, with every world leader (except for Mr. Trump… yes, I said Mr., the buffoon has not earned the title of President… don’t get me started), radio station, television network and social media site declaring the rise of Coronavirus and what to do to decrease the impact and flatten the curve, there are still people out there that just don’t get it. Here are just a few things I personally heard and saw this past week;

  • Families with babies that aren’t even walking yet coming in to look at shoes.
  • People bringing their elderly parents, that have oxygen tanks in tow, in to shop for shoes.
  • People walking right past our sanitizing station.
  • Lady comes into the store. There are literally no customers, just her. I ask if she needs some help. “No. I was told to work from home, but I got bored so I thought I’d look at shoes.”.
  • Lady comes into the store, carrying her dog. Walks through the entire store, touching everything in her path. We ask if she needs help to which she tell us “Nope. Just looking. Just got off a plane from out West. I showered though, so it’s all good.”
  • A couple comes in looking for men’s sandals. They ask if this is all we have. I tell them “Yes. We will have more in April. We are closing until March 31st. to help flatten the curve.”. “Oh, well that’s good” the lady says. “If more people stayed home, the virus would get under control.”.  … lady…you are out of your house.
  • A lady came in the store, freshly tanned bragging about her trip that she just returned from. My coworker stood 6 feet from her and the lady laughed at her, going on about “are you doing what the news is telling you to do?”
  • A father and daughter… I think it was his daughter, came in looking for tall black boots… I hope it was his daughter. I passed them the boots then stood back. They asked how late we were open, and I told them our usual time that we close then added “it could change at anytime because of what’s going on.”. The Dad… I really hope it was the Dad, looks at me and laughs “I don’t get what the big deal is. I’m a nurse and I’m not worried. Everyone needs to calm down.” …sigh
  • A woman and her daughter came in to “look around”. I didn’t have the size she was looking for. She said she was going to go to the mall. I let her know all the stores in the Mall are closed until at least March 31st. Her exact words “Really? How come?”. I shit you not people. I had to explain about the closures to non essential services…then had to explain what non essential services meant.

I have also witnessed many acts of kindness and courtesy. Customers keeping their distance, telling me they can help themselves. Customers asking if I was alright and if my family was alright. Customers thanking us for putting a shoe aside for them to pick up and go. Maintenance workers thanking us for getting them the proper safety footwear. Nurses thanking us for helping them get new footwear. I even had a customer ask if I had my own hand sanitizer.

 

These days we wake up each morning to new stats, new “how to’s”, new rules. We may not be able to control much these days, but we can control ourselves. Our actions, our reactions, how we treat one another. Check on your neighbours. Check on your friends wherever they may be around the globe. Shoot them a text. Your phone does more than host your apps and filter your pics, it actually is a telephone. Once and a while, call someone. Let them hear a voice other than their own. If you hoarded toilet paper, redeem yourself and give out some rolls to the people in your building or on your street. Donate food to the food bank. Wash your damn hands. Take a breath.

Be kind. Be compassionate. Plain and Simple.