Reunion

On Thursday I got to go to the eighth installment of an annual ceremony celebrating winners of a digital art prize, sponsored by my old company, which Lindsay created in a past life. It was great to see many of my old colleagues again, and just to…get out. Post-vaccination, as in-person things have returned again, I find we’ve struggled to mobilize on getting out as much. So, for one night, it was nice to put on decent clothes, to head downtown (traffic notwithstanding), to take in art, and to talk and laugh with people again.

By the way, if you’re in Toronto and you can make it, the exhibition of the five finalists’ work is at 401 Richmond until October 1st.

Grill

I’ve never really been a guy who grills. I was the youngest kid growing up, so I was way back in line to man the barbeque. Later, when I was married and we had a place that could support a bbq, my ex-wife liked to grill (and was really good at it) so I always deferred. After the divorce I moved to a loft with no outside space.

Then, when we bought the house a couple years ago, the previous owners left their old grill. But it was old. Like, old old. I didn’t feel great about using it, and the igniter was broken anyway, so a little while ago we finally got around to replacing it.

We fired up our new Weber E-325S last night to grill some sausages and corn on the cob. It was delicious, and I’m annoyed at myself for waiting so long to buy this thing.

Slipped in the clippings

Many years ago, while living in Ottawa for a summer work term, brother #1 and I each bought electric hair clippers. We both shaved our heads at the time, and thought we could save money by doing it ourselves. (And checking the back of each others’ heads.)

I kept it up for probably a few years after graduating, but eventually starting going to proper barbershops. (I’ve always kept my hair short.) The clippers just got stuck in a drawer, but followed me around through each move.

When the pandemic hit and everything closed, I dug the clippers out of whatever drawer they were in. They still worked, and thank goodness, because they were the only thing that’s kept my hair reasonably tame since.

Yesterday, for the first time in over two years, I had an appointment with a barber. It’s just up the street (my old place was across the street from St. Lawrence Market, which was convenient when I lived around there, or still went to the market for groceries every other week, but not so much anymore), it was a very chill vibe, and I accepted the up-sell of a hot towel + face/head/neck/shoulder massage. This is NOT something I’d normally go for, but goddamn…I just about fell asleep in the chair. Now I don’t think I can go back to shaving my own head.

After, I picked up sandwiches, some sourdough, and a peach & pistachio tart from the nearby Petite Thuet (so that’s gonna become a regular thing too, I think) and managed to get home just before a violent thunderstorm blasted through.

DriveTime

Since I’ve been driving to work a few times a week, I’ve managed to resume some podcast-listening, which used to be my TTC commute activity. Some favourites of late:

  • Scamfluencers, in which Scaachi Koul and Sarah Hagi tell stores of true (mostly white-collar) crime carried out by people with some combination of gumption and psychopathy.
  • The new season of Against The Rules by Michael Lewis.
  • Will Be Wild, about the Jan 6 US Capitol riot.
  • I’m just about to start a podcast about Nova Scotian winery Avondale Sky. Their site says “If you love wine, business and the thrill of new ventures. Then Avondale Sky Winery Podcast is the show for you.” and I was like…yup.

Two years

Yesterday, March 18, marked exactly two years since my last day at the office (at my previous company), and, for all intents and purposes, the start of the lockdown for Lindsay and I.

No point rehashing the last two years, but it does feel like we’re now — for better or worse, and perhaps only temporarily — tentatively re-entering the world, at least in Toronto. Last Friday we went to see a (very excellent) Jacqueline Novak comedy show; last night I met up with some old Delano colleagues, one of whom I hadn’t seen in 21 years, at Craft Beer Market, which was pretty much full. On Monday, I start working in the office again, a few days a week.

I hope we can keep things under control. I hope we can restart our social lives in some way without endangering the most vulnerable. Even I, Captain Introvert, crave interaction and dinners out and travel experiences. But not at all costs, so…fingers crossed for safe re-entry.

That only took 46 years

For the first time in my life I’ve bought a car. I managed without one for a very long time — always living downtown, usually near wherever I worked, taking transit and ubers and using autoshare and otherwise walking everywhere. But now I have a job that will take me to Mississauga (!) a couple times a week starting in January, and to the Niagara Peninsula every so often, so it was time.

I settled on a BMW X3 plug-in hybrid, and I’m picking it up today. We did test-drive it, and it barely fits in the garage, so parking could be a pain. I guess I should get used to parking generally being a pain from here on out.

It was a valiant effort, I guess.

Happy 3rd gotcha day anniversary, Kramer

Three years ago, give or take, we adopted Kramer. Year by year we’ve seen him progress in terms of how much he trusts us, and how affectionate he becomes. This is how I described his progress last year:

In the past year, and especially in the five months since COVID hit here, he’s continued to warm up to us. He now lets us pet him all the time, and in fact demands it. He half-meows outside our bedroom in the morning until we come play with him. He sleeps near us most of the time. He purrs, occasionally. He’s even jumped up on the bed or couch with us, if we lure him with treats.

It’s hard to even imagine, given what he was like two years ago.

If we thought that was hard to imagine, his progress since moving into the house ten months ago has blown us away. He routinely demands pets, scratches, and now belly rubs, to the point where he’s become a bit insatiable. Each morning when we get up he runs to greet us and flops at our feet to get scratches, or rubs against our legs. He sleeps on the stairs between floors to maximize the amount of affection he gets per day. He even slept on the bed all night with us a few times in the winter, when it was colder. He still gets freaked out easily and scratches us sometimes, but then is right back looking for more love.

But really, it’s the belly rubs that are the most significant development. It’s a sign of trust, of vulnerability, for a cat to expose his belly like that. Guess he loves us. And he’s soooooooooooo soft.

Cover photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Second pandy birthday

Yesterday was my birthday. I celebrated by having a pretty good day at work, doing a tiny bit of travel planning, watching some Bad Batch, playing a game of Exploding Kittens with Lindsay, drinking a bottle of Armand de Brignac (!) Champagne, opening a couple of very thoughtful gifts, and going out to dinner — for the first time in a year — to Gare de L’est.

Dinner was simple, but also felt wonderful. We sat on the patio and listened to live jazz like the world was normal again. We had oysters, steak tartare, duck (me) and mussels (Linds), wine, and more champagne. They rushed us out before we could get dessert but we went full dirty and got a McCain deep n’ delicious chocolate cake from the convenience store that Lindsay jammed a few candles in, and watched trash TV until we got sleepy.

Not the most glamorous birthday I’ve ever had, but I’ll take it.

.:.

Cover photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

A busy, lazy week

This week was supposed to be quiet, but has ended up rather eventful.

On Sunday we, along with ~26,000 other people, got vaccinated at Scotiabank Arena. That was our second shot, and we celebrated with drinks on the patio at Chez Nous. I spent most of Monday knocked out by side effects.

On Tuesday I returned to my office for (basically) the first time since March 2020, to collect the things from my office and say goodbye to some colleagues. Later that day we got a gorgeous vintage daybed delivered, and it now graces our office upstairs.

Wednesday was technically my last day at the bank. We celebrated with a bottle of 1996 Penfolds Bin 707 Cab Sauv that I recently won in a charity auction. It was simply stellar.

Thursday was Canada Day. But given where we are as a country there was obviously no celebrating. Lindsay did have a friend over that evening; we ordered Tabule and discovered a burger that might well be the best kept secret in the city.

Friday was my lone day of unemployment. We didn’t do much except marvel at torrential rain and a freak hailstorm, before Maeg and Immony came over for backyard drinks on a perfect evening. Montreal meanwhile, was losing their third game to Tampa Bay in the Stanley Cup Finals, so things don’t look good.

Today I just feel run down. I’m trying to rally, but right now all I can seem to manage is to type this whilst watching England play Ukraine in the Euros.

Cover photo by Chris Blonk on Unsplash

Shot #1

On Tuesday, thanks to VaxHunters, I saw a tweet saying people in our postal code could get vaccinated. I quickly moved some meetings around, grabbed Lindsay, and walked over. From the time we left until we were back at home, Pfizer jabs in-arm, it was ~35 minutes. Easy peasy!

Well, not quite easy-peasy; our arms hurt a lot that night, and I felt like shit the next day. I’d heard it was the second Pfizer shot that gets you, but since I probably still had antibodies from early April, maybe it was like the second shot? Anyway, it faded after ~24 hours, and luckily Lindsay never really had a reaction.

So that’s vax #1 in. And it coincided roughly with (a) nice weather, and (b) the Federal government’s easy-to-understand framework for where we’re headed. So for the first time in a while, I’m feeling not just resolved, but optimistic.

.:.

Cover photo by Chris Blonk on Unsplash