For this post, I’ll backtrack and tell you what I’ve been doing since New Year’s. Notice I didn’t preface that by saying, “Now that I have extra time on my hands…” My new work-from-home routine has kept me as busy as usual.
Long-time readers will know I have an adult child who is genderqueer and transgender. That is, they don’t identify with being either male or female, and they have taken steps to change the body they were born into, through hormones and surgery. This is to get them to a place where they feel more at home in their body. Link had top surgery two years ago (details are here and here). They wanted to have one more surgery, which was the removal of reproductive organs – uterus and ovaries. That way, no more female hormones are being produced. Link was on a waiting list for surgery since September, and they were offered a short-notice appointment in January. They would need some home care afterwards (from me) so I hurriedly booked time off work and got myself to Toronto.
Many people in my life have expressed sympathy and they’ve assumed I must be grieving at the prospect of not having future grandchildren. I was surprised by that reaction. Link has never wanted children. I have not been spending my time hoping they’d change their mind – it didn’t even occur to me. I know so many other parents of adult children who don’t have partners, don’t intend to marry, don’t want children, or who have complete “fur families” with corresponding grand-cats and grand-dogs, that all those situations are normal to me. Where I live, 57% of couples do not have children, and Canada-wide, it’s at 49% (as shown here). People forget (or don’t know) that in LGBTQ+ communities, having nuclear families with children is still not typical.
Link’s surgery was very simple, laparoscopic with no complications and a one-night hospital stay. It was done at a regular city hospital, not a gender reassignment clinic. I stayed in town for 2 weeks, mainly to do the cooking, grocery shopping, housework and errands. Link gradually increased their walking each day and they were feeling pretty much normal by the end of week 2. We had a really good visit.
It was strange for me being in Toronto without Rom, without doing any personal shopping, and without planning any activities! Happily, one of Link’s cousins moved to Toronto, and we got together with them for a meal and enjoyed catching up. PK’s brother, Joe, also relocated to Toronto (he loves it!) so he and I spent a noisy evening watching the Superbowl at a downtown pub!
While I was away from home, I used my phone exclusively. On the way back, I placed Rom’s ChromeBook in an airport security bin and left it there! I didn’t remember it until I was unpacking at home. Thinking it couldn’t hurt, I sent a “lost and found” report to Pearson airport. My home inventory had the brand and model number (I wouldn’t have remembered) and I sent a photo of a unique sticker that Rom had placed on the case (advertising guitar pedals). They located it the next day and couriered it back for $48. Considering the staff time involved to find, identify and package it, I was most pleased! The replacement cost would have been $250.
In February, Rom and I saw a long-awaited movie – 63 Up. It had been released in the Fall but despite my best efforts there was no legal way to watch it, except by subscribing to BritBox. I was thrilled to see the latest entry in the series. It feels like all the subjects in the documentary are my personal friends by now! What an historic piece of filmmaking the series is. A group of school children were filmed for a documentary at age 7 and every 7 years thereafter, until now, and future installments are still planned!
A few events broke up the month of February – a tremendous ice storm, a generous invite to see the stage play The Last Five Years, a deluxe Valentine’s lunch out, Pancake Day, and, of course, doing tax returns. The tax season opened Feb. 24 so why would I not want to get my refund as early as possible? That same week, I moved some money into a new investment to max out my TFSA contributions. I regret that – it could have stayed sitting in its low-risk little savings account ☹
On the first of March, we booked a trip to see Rom’s parents in the UK in June. Due to the age and health of both sets of our parents, we ensured all our flights and hotel stays were changeable or cancellable, and we didn’t buy tickets to any events, just in case. I very nearly spent a fortune on tickets to see Queen with Adam Lambert in London. Whew! I doubt very much the world will be OK for international travel in June. Even if it were permitted, I don’t expect we’d want to take advantage so soon.
So here is a “blast from the past.” The Bay City Rollers were a boy band who were popular in North America for a two-year period from 1976-1978. I was a massive fan when I was 13. The original singer, Les, is doing a tour with a backing band, doing BCR hits. My sister and her friend got tickets, so I joined them. Les’s voice is in good form and he had a very competent cover band. He was self-deprecating, making lots of jokes about his age and (lack of) fitness. Since the songs were from my formative years, I knew them all. Sometimes I can be a bit “bah humbug” about reunion tours and nostalgia, but it was fun!
As I mentioned in my last post, we normally try to use up our groceries every week and never stockpile, which put us in a bad state for self-isolation. Before my workplace closed for what was then a 3-week shutdown, I spent an extra $150 on non-perishables. There was barely room for it all. I also had some routine car maintenance done, took out some emergency cash from the bank, and topped up my cell phone data!
Since Link was still not working post-surgery, we arranged for them to come stay with us for “the duration,” as we call it. I was a nervous parent since Link had to take transit to the airport, spend time there, take a flight and pick up luggage. Link said the transit and airport were like ghost towns, the domestic flight was ¾ full, but they were next to an empty seat. Link arrived before the two-week self-quarantine was required for people travelling between provinces, but we decided to honour it anyway. I was already working from home, and Rom is now WFH too but just for the 2 weeks.
It has been most interesting watching/hearing how Rom conducts business! He is an IT guy and he now supports all the other staff who are working remotely. He does training and troubleshooting, and works out solutions for when they are missing software or equipment to do their work. He can “take over” staff work laptops and fix things. His firm is contemplating lay-offs soon, so we will see what happens.
As noted, my workdays are as busy as ever. I enjoy the variety – last Monday I made a pot of soup at lunch time, another day I went for a walk at 11, and so on! This week I start video meetings three afternoons a week. The rest of the time, I continue my projects. I like having structured days, and still having weekends.
My local rec centre has long since closed. They have put all memberships on pause, and they’ll extend them after re-opening. I have been sleeping an extra 1.5 hours every morning. I feel like a new person! Working out at home and going for walks.
The library (my workplace) has extended its closure until at least April 30 and the entire staff has a pay guarantee until then. It was just announced today that schools will also stay closed until April 30.
At the time of my last post on March 14, Canada had 250 cases of Covid-19. As of March 28, we had 2811. Gulp! My province has gone from 0 to 122, with 3 hospitalizations and no deaths. I hope everyone will stay home so we can keep it that way.
Wishing good spirits to all. I’d love to know how and what you are doing.