Nothing’s For Sure, That’s For Sure

Ontario’s top doctor says he ‘can’t guarantee’ that businesses will reopen on Jan. 26
Some days I wonder if anyone has learned a thing during the nearly two damn years that we’ve been dealing with COVID. I know we all want to see it over with for a lot of reasons, but by now we should have figured out that all of this rush rush rush to open everything up only makes sure that we’re going to have to shut it all down again. Similarly, the rush rush rush to ditch all of the financial help only makes the sting of pulling back worse when the inevitable happens.

No government should be guaranteeing anything to anyone at this point. It never ends well. This should neither be rocket science nor a revolutionary concept. Nor should anyone be in a position to have to worry about it. In a rich country like Canada, there’s no excuse for not having some sort of basic income that everyone can fall back on instead of having to navigate an ever changing patchwork of programs. This was a good idea two years ago, and it’s an even better one now. You can’t tell me that our reality hasn’t shown this to be true over and over again. We shouldn’t be fretting about the future of the sandwich shack. It should be able to stay comfortably closed while we sort out how to empty out the hospitals and keep schools open for more than a couple months at a time. It would be great if all of the various Chambers of Commerce and such could be just as loud about that as they are about wishing for certainty where none can exist.

Moore’s comments come after the Ontario Chamber of Commerce called on the province to provide clarity on what public health metrics are used to guide the government’s decisions to impose and lift restrictions.
President and CEO Rocco Rossi said in a statement issued Thursday that because the province has announced that schools will return on Monday, business owners need to know if they can reopen on Jan. 26.
“We implore the government to immediately clarify if Ontario will be moving out of Stage 2 of its Roadmap to Reopen plan so employers, workers and families can plan accordingly,” Rossi said.
“To help reduce business uncertainty, we continue to call for transparency and visibility into the metrics guiding the imposition or removal of public health restrictions.”

Would You Like Freeze With That?

‘Bundle up’: Restaurants reopen patios due to restrictions on indoor dining
This is an article from this month. This month is January, in case you’re reading this later.

I understand that businesses are having to do what they have to do to keep going, but what I don’t get is how and why in the hell this particular strategy actually seems to be working.

My main goal in winter is to not be outside. When I fail at that, it’s to get back inside as soon as possible. So I would really have to hate where I live for sitting on a Canadian patio in January to look like a reasonable alternative to delivery, either that or be drunk to the point that I am no longer capable of feeling cold weather. I hope never to attain such a level of drunkenness, because I know me, and the reason I would no longer be feeling the cold weather is because I would be dead.

And please, stop with this we’re Canadian so its nice to get out and enjoy the weather business. That’s like saying “we’re from Florida
, so it’s great to have the alligators shear off our arms and legs.”

For the economy’s sake I suppose it’s nice that there are enough maniacs out there to make this viable, but on the other hand, that’s a lot of maniacs.

Now, some Waterloo Region restaurants are hoping to bring people out by reopening their patios.
“Bundle up. We are also looking at getting some blankets to provide,” said Bill Siegfried, the vice president at Moose Winooskis in Kitchener.
To encourage more patio patrons, Moose Winooskis also has two 16-foot heaters and eight standing mushroom heaters.
Staff say so far It’s been working and they have had tables dining outdoors.
“I’m gonna say about 20 in total yesterday. We had three tables today for lunch,” said Siegfried.
According to the new rules laid out by the province, tables are to be capped at 10 people.
“It’s nice. We’re Canadian. So, you get to be outside and enjoy the weather while you can,” said Adam Cole, the manager at Prohibition Warehouse and Kentucky Bourbon in Waterloo.

There Are Number 1s Right In Your Phone Number. I Thought You Could Help

Today’s…uh…piss poor reason for calling 911. I’m caught in slow moving traffic and I really need to take a wiz. Please send the police.

When the 38-second call begins, the operator asks the man if he needs police, fire or ambulance.

He first says he needs an ambulance, but then tells the operator he actually needs police. 
“The thing is I have to pee and these guy are not moving,” the caller tells the operator. 
“This is your emergency?” the operator responds. “That you have to pee? And how are the police going to help you urinate?”

The caller then repeats to the operator that he has to pee.
“I have to pee, man,” the caller says.
“I’m not sure what you’d like me to do if you have to urinate, I can’t help you with that,” the operator says before disconnecting the call.

Give Me Those Keys

Some days it really irritates me that guys like this get to drive and I don’t. Really, how much more dangerous could I possibly be? I’d even stick my cane out the window so I could sweep for obstacles if it would make people feel better.

Halton police has charged a Waterdown man for playing the flute while driving in Burlington, Ont.
Const. Steve Elms said the driver, in his 40s, was stopped at a red light playing his flute with both hands.
Elms said the light turned green and the man started driving — while still playing the flute.
A tweet from Halton police stated the man was following along to a song playing on his iPod.

No, they didn’t say what song it was. I’m annoyed by that, too.

Let Me Warm That UP For You

If nobody has, somebody needs to come up with a microwave for the car. I feel like it would save a lot of people, such as poor Zayveon Johnson here, a whole lot of trouble. It might give us one less gimmick to run the site on, but holy crap I think I’m fine with that.

As detailed in a criminal complaint, Pritchett was involved in a “verbal altercation” with customer Zayveon Johnson over “food obtained in the Wendy’s drive-thru.” Johnson, cops say, contended that the items he received were cold.
A police review of store surveillance footage showed that while Pritchett was “conducting a cash refund,” he returned to the restaurant’s kitchen “to obtain the hot oil in a metal pan.” The scalding oil apparently was taken from a deep fryer.
Upon returning to the drive-thru window, Pritchett “doused Mr. Johnson with the hot oil,” according to an affidavit sworn by Ethan Parham, a Huntingdon Police Department officer. Johnson, 23, was treated at a local hospital for “burns on his left side and arm, which showed obvious, extensive blistering.”

Pritchett is Demarrus Pritchett, a 21-year-old shift manager at the restaurant.

When spoken to by police, he admitted that he had dumped the oil on Johnson, but said that he did it because Johnson had been harassing him about dogs for weeks.

He has been charged with aggravated assault.

No further information is available about what the hell is up with these supposed dogs.

The Tuition At I Did My Own Research University Is Starting To Go UP, Thank God

All of this editorial 1000 times. We’ve said a bunch of this here already, but it still needs repeating. Plus it’s good to see governments coming around to the idea that you can’t always be nice and simply rely on people to do the right thing. Sometimes you really do need to slap some fuckers around a little for the sake of the greater good. If the government isn’t going to take important steps to protect us during one of the worst times of our lives, then why do we even have one?

A few choice cuts.

Reason hasn’t worked. Statistics haven’t worked. Pleading, begging, scolding and shaming haven’t worked.
Those refusing to be vaccinated against COVID-19 are doing great harm to the majority of responsible citizens, to Canada’s health-care system, to the overburdened men and women who work in it.
It is their irresponsibility that is largely to blame for the restraints under which Canadians are currently required to live.
It is no surprise, then, and largely to be applauded, that exasperated jurisdictions from Quebec to countries in Europe have opted to raise the cost of demonstrably anti-social behaviour.
The responsible majority of citizens are fed up to their locked-down ears with the tail wagging the dog.

Some of those frustrated with the intransigence of the anti-vaxx minority propose cutting them off from all social services. That would be too extreme.
But there’s no human right to the pleasures of life — to entertainment, libations, recreational drugs — and requiring vaccination as the price of admission is entirely reasonable.

But right now the responsible majority are paying an enormous price for the stubbornness of the recalcitrant – and it is not the former who should be asked to make endless accommodations.
O’Toole should understand that to give comfort to the unvaccinated is to support the ongoing necessity of lockdowns.
Epidemiologists have already called this “a pandemic of the unvaccinated” – a minority about five times more likely to be infected, 10 times more likely to end up in hospital and 25 times more likely to end up filling scarce ICU beds.
The majority of people who “did the right thing” and got vaccinated are effectively being held hostage to the selfishness of the few. At this point it’s entirely reasonable to raise the price of irresponsibility, and make life more difficult for those who won’t get their shots.

The Trials And Tribulations of Tansy

I swear, she danced along with *this* song. No joke! Maybe she’s worried about the service weasel. Anyway, she is overdue for an update. What a time she’s had!

It started off when she had a really persistent yeast infection in her ears. That thing would not go away! it took a couple of rounds of regular ear medication, plus some super duper long-lasting ear infection killing stuff, but finally she got the all clear.

It’s really weird when the vet gives medication to take home and we’re doing the curbside thing. I just don’t think to ask them to help me give the first dose. But I kind of got burned this time. I looked at the bottle and it looked like a kind of med I’d given before. But when I got it home, I could not open the darn thing! I eventually had to bother a neighbour because not even Aira could help me! So I try to remember if I’m getting any sort of medication to ask them to help me give the first dose. They said I could bring it back there and they would help me, but there was no way I was spending that much on cabs just for them to go *twist*.

She also lost some hair. They asked me if she was licking herself, but I didn’t notice. We gave her some anti-itch stuff and the hair came back, thankfully. And she kept spawning these pustules. They just went away on their own. Then I made the mistake of saying that she was asking for extra trips outside to pee. That sent us down a giant rabbit hole. The vet was very thorough and took me seriously, which I appreciate. But I wasn’t expecting the journey we would take.

First, they tested her for diabetes, and that came back good, so I was relieved. They also made sure she didn’t have a UTI. So I thought maybe she was just doing an older dog thing. Maybe her little doggy bladder can’t hold as much. But the vet didn’t like how diluted the urine was. So first we tested for kidney issues, and ran a whole pile of blood tests, and they all came back fine.

Next, the vet thought she might have Cushing’s disease, an endocrine issue that causes the dog to produce way too much cortisol. If she did, I would have been forced to laugh because I have endocrine issues that cause me to produce too little cortisol. As Steve is fond of saying, “They match you so well!” So I had to leave her at the vet so they could take blood a couple of hours apart to measure cortisol. That came back normal, and I breathed a sigh of relief.

We also reached out to the Ontario Veterinary College because we were pretty stumped. The college, plus the school, thought it would be a good idea to get an abdominal ultrasound to make sure all the organs in there looked good, and the college wondered if she had a teeny tiny UTI that just wasn’t showing up on urine tests because the urine was so diluted, so they asked for urine to be taken directly from the bladder and taken away to see if it would grow a culture. In case you’re wondering how they do that with dogs, they use an ultrasound to guide them, and then stick a needle right into the bladder! *shiver* Why is it that both Trixie and Tansy had to go through this? The ultrasound came back great, and so did the urine.

Then she wondered if Tansy had something called Diabetes Insipidus, which didn’t sound like her except for the part where she had to go outside more frequently. So we had to figure out how to measure how much water we put out versus how much she was drinking. Long story short, she wasn’t drinking a whole heap, which confused the heck out of my poor vet.

So, the only thing the vet could think to do is to test the urine concentration one more time before trying to give her this weird anti-diuretic hormone supplement, and by some miracle, it was pretty close to normal! So for now, we’re just sighing with relief and scratching our heads. But that was quite a ride.

We also discovered that Tansy’s eyes are starting to not be as good as they used to be. I mean, she’s over 10 and a half, who can blame her? I was starting to notice that she was having some depth perception issues, and if it was too dark when we would throw a ball, she wouldn’t try to go after it. So the vet looked at her eyes and said if she looked really closely, she could see a thickening in the eyes. She said there wasn’t anything that could be done for it, it was just dogs getting older. But if I wanted to, I could take her to an ophthalmologist and they could have a look. I talked to the school, and they said they would certainly help with paying for transportation if I wanted to go, but I didn’t get the sense this was something that needed doing urgently. I just had to think about not asking her to work in dark places. Since this is a pandemic, we’re not going too far, so I just let things be.

Tansy has never had a problem with the vet. She always has been happy to see them. But lately, she has changed her opinion on this. I can hear Steve saying “Gee, I wonder why! The last few times they have seen her, they have not done nice things to her!” Yeah, it’s probably true. Plus, they come for her when I’m outside, and then take her away from me and into the building, and that’s probably not the happiest thing. I feel like an evil person when I hand her leash over and she tries to stick to me like glue.

Speaking of leashes, Tansy broke hers! I’m pretty sure Trixie’s original leash lasted her until the end of her adult life. But one day in December when I was with someone at the Christkindl market, The rivets on the leash just went *pop!* Thankfully, it broke in such a way that she was still under control. It just wouldn’t let me change it from long leash to short leash. Also, thankfully I had a spare at home so I wasn’t screwed for too long. Man! Those leashes are mortal!

While we’re on the subject of equipment failures, I pulled out some Pawz boots that had been in my coat pocket since pre-pandemic, and somehow, the salt had eaten holes in them that I could feel! That was crazy. And I must have gotten out of practice with putting Pawz on because I’ve lost a couple from them just falling off on a small route. One fell off just from getting into and out of a cab! That never happens!

As she gets older, I get more comments about how old she looks and less about how puppy-like she is. That makes me a tiny bit sad, even if it’s inevitable. It happened suddenly. It was like a switch flipped and John Q. Public went from going “Wow! She’s 10?” to “She is getting older.” or “There’s a lot more grey now.” or “What’s wrong with your dog?” or the worst, “She looks kind of scared.” Poor Shmans is finally showing her age.

She seemed to have a really hard time adjusting to the latest time change. Sometimes, when we go through a time change, she’s a little weird about her potty trips outside for a week maximum. But she just kept sticking to the old times, and trying to find times somewhere in the middle between old and new. I called it Eastern Shmandard Time. Eventually, she pretty much normalized, but even now, she sometimes wants her final potty to be at 9 instead of 10.

She’s so lazy now. At dinner time, she hangs out right where Steve’s feet will wind up when he comes to sit down and eat. She waits until the last second…and then moves over a few feet so he won’t squish her. Sometimes she tries to anticipate where he’s going to go and fails. But she always waits until the last possible second.

One thing I still haven’t gotten used to in these COVID times is when I get into the back of a cab, I have to make sure her harness doesn’t snarl the barrier and maybe rip it. When I used to be allowed to get in the front of cabs, I was used to making sure the handle didn’t hit the dashboard, but I’m still getting used to watching out for the barrier. They’re all different, so I never know what I’m going to hit.

I guess the last thing I can write down for now is a dream I had about Tansy. I dreamed that Tansy was living with my parents, and someone hadn’t let her out and she had an accident right on the kitchen floor. I also had a dream that she would walk so slow that if I was walking with her and trying to follow other people I would lose them. In the dream, she refused to get in the car. I guess my brain is turning over what will be the thing that makes me retire her, and what will her last years be like. Apparently I have a morbid subconscious. But Tansy is getting up there, so this is something I have to think about.

But what I have to think about right now is getting out of this chair and feeding a certain hungry hound who still has some spring in her step yet. Until next time…

Train Of Thought

Back around Christmas, Steve and I went home to see my family. We took Via Rail, and I wanted to make a couple of observations about the experience.

First, to the people who think unmanned Via stations are acceptable: they suck if anyone needs a little bit of extra guidance or assistance. Yes, you can request assistance on your ticket, but that assistance only starts when the people on the train see you. They won’t see you until you make it out to the platform where the train is, which you may not find if you’re in an unmanned station and don’t happen to catch another soul who is willing or able to help you. Sound familiar? By the way, they still have no plan. The guy I spoke to thankfully informed me that the station was unmanned but his helpful suggestion was “Maybe your cab driver can stick around until your train gets here.” Um nope. Have you taken a cab lately? Failing that, do you have the time to clock off for a half hour to help someone with something unrelated to your profession? Probably not.

When we got there, the place was surprisingly desolate for Christmas time, for obvious reasons. So, our troubles began. There are several doors leading to lots of different parts of the outside, but how to know which door to hit? I know, listen for the other folks making it to the train and follow them like a sheep. But some people might choose to be dropped off outside and just walk around to the platform, which means there’s no shepherds to follow. Plus, in usual times, you have about 30 seconds or so from the train’s arrival to find it, find your car and get on. I don’t want to be starting that journey from the inside of the station.

Luckily some folks showed up, and I struck up a conversation with one. She was helping her mom get on the train. Her mom would need a bit of extra help, but I think she was newer at this whole disability thing, so thought she could just ask the station attendant for that. Hahahahahaha! Nope nope nope! There is no station attendant! She showed up repeatedly for days before her train and “there was no one around!” The poor lady. So we started to realize that this poor woman might not get the help she needs because she banked on talking to a Via staff member that doesn’t exist. I didn’t get to see her again because we were in different cars, but I hope she got what she needed.

Second, it was weird being on a train full of people and hearing less coughing than usual. In a group of people, there seems to be a trail of “ahems” and coughs and clearing of throats. There was hardly any of that here. I would feel guilty if I ever had to cough.

Third, I felt a little sorry for the Via staff and the things they had to tell us…over and over again. I’m sure the reason they say everything they say is because of experience. One common refrain was something like this: “Masks must be worn at all times unless you are actively consuming food or a beverage. Our mask protocol is more strict than that at a restaurant. If we may make a friendly suggestion, if you no longer have food but are still consuming a beverage, remove your mask, take a sip of your beverage and then replace your mask. Repeat these steps until there is no further beverage to consume.” Seriously? You had to say all of that? It wasn’t enough just to say that their rules are different than restaurant rules and unless you are actually eating or drinking, masks must be worn? Either someone is very detailed, or Via Rail staff had had many confrontations with passengers about how they have a drink in front of them so they should be able to take their mask off. I’m sadly going for column b. Gees!

All in all, once I got on the train, it was a wonderful experience and they took good care of us. But I can’t imagine the stupid they have to deal with every day.