2021 Annual Report: Outbreak

This is how I ended my annual report post from last year:

Things won’t suddenly snap back to normal tomorrow morning, but I feel like there’s hope on 2021’s asymmetrical horizon.

That hope wasn’t entirely misplaced, I suppose. But I can tell you that I was being cautiously optimistic, and really didn’t think I’d be summarizing this year under similar, perhaps even more chaotic, circumstances.

Not only did the pandemic continue, with the global death count now topping five million, we got a first-hand taste. In early April I tested positive for COVID-19 after our neighbours told us they’d gotten it. We’d seen them briefly, outdoors, on the first nice day of spring — and within days both households on either side of them had it. Technically Lindsay never tested positive, but it was pretty clear she had it. We spent the better part of a week flat on our asses, but we survived it…though, true to what we’ve heard elsewhere, weird little symptoms lingered long after. To wit: in May I had something called Covid Toe.

Nonetheless, we made it. As Toronto re-opened (a little too soon and too abruptly, in my, and others’, opinion) we were able to keep to ourselves (and help Kramer come out of his shell more and more) thanks to the house and a nice little back yard. Speaking of the house: we continued to slowly fill it with furniture, but haven’t done major renos yet, aside from the garage. More on that later.

After sifting through government forms, drug store IVRs, and myriad tweets, we got vaccination shot #1 in mid-May. We stayed mostly hunkered down (apart from a march) until the end of June, when we got shot #2 at Scotiabank Arena. We celebrated by going straight to our first Chez Nous patio visit of the year. After that, it felt like life opened up a bit. Friends visited from Montreal. We had dinner on a patio, then inside a week later. My brother and sister-in-law came to visit; both our moms would follow later in the fall. We met friends for dinner on a patio. We went to a socially-distant play (of sorts). We went to a friends’ place for dinner. We met friends for drinks in bars, dutifully showing our vaxx certificates. Things felt altered, but almost normal. Except for one big difference.

Just before we got shot #2, I left my job. I was approached in the spring to become the CIO of the largest wine company in the country. The idea of combining what I knew and what I love was too good to pass up, so after more than two decades in banking, I changed industries. Breaking away from something I’d built, from what was familiar, seemed strange in an already-strange year…but good strange.

That new job gave us an excuse to leave the city for the first time in a year, heading to Niagara-on-the-Lake for a combo work/fun weekend. Later in the fall we visited Hidden Bench for a wine club member tasting event, and spent a weekend in Prince Edward Country for Lindsay’s birthday, our first time there in four years. Trips like this should get easier now, too; earlier this month I finally broke down and bought my first-ever car. I’ll need it to commute to the office a couple of times a week, whenever that becomes a thing again.

I eventually got comfortable enough to visit Nova Scotia in late September / early October, just in case things got dicey again around the holidays. And did they ever: the Omicron variant reared its head, and we debated cancelling our Christmas travel plans, but in the end we came. It was dodgy and our plans changed by the hour, but we got to see some family and have some downtime.

And so, I end this year with hope for 2022, but it’s different than what I hoped for 2021. At this time last year we didn’t know when vaccines were coming, or how long they’d take. We were in full lockdown. Now, we’re vaccinated, and boosters are coming. We’re back in a peak now, but Omicron’s severity may well be different. After our own personal outbreak we broke free of our own house and tasted real life again. So I suppose it’s less optimism that 2022 will be different, and more hope. To be honest, I don’t care to contemplate another year of this.

.:.

Annual reports from past years:

.:.

Cover photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

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