The Blurry Phase

Our area officially entered “stage 3” of reopening this weekend, which means just about everything is open now, I guess, although I haven’t heard of big concerts or sports events being restored, and of course, there is the ongoing School Controversy – what’s safe, what’s reasonable, what should we do in September.

(Trust me, I have NO idea. I feel strongly that we cannot send children back to school until we have some new measures in place – and the funding behind them – to try to protect kids and staff. But I also feel strongly that we cannot reopen all other areas of the economy and not open schools, because we are basically asking at least one parent (most likely the mom) to quit their job and become a full-time daycare, and unless the government is going to pony up some money for COVID leave and job protection, then that is also a no. So the answer is, there is NO ANSWER. Sigh.)

Anyway, you can go to the gym and you can go to the library and you can even swim in a public pool if you book a time. You can eat in a restaurant if you wear a mask whenever you aren’t actively putting food and drink in your mouth and you can even see a movie in the near future.

But here at our house, nothing really feels back to normal. In fact, I am a little worried about my kids as they are in Severe Hermit Mode. They actively fight when we want them to leave the house and they have become fused with their pyjamas. I have read a lot about “kid mental health” in these times and I thought our kids were just fine, but I’m starting to think they are possibly AFRAID of going out. Which is sad, and weird, and I worry about it.

In any case, we are still only doing essential errands, and only one of us at a time where possible. We have had a couple of socially distanced backyard visits with my sister (yay!) but we are still doing video calls with other friends and family. My husband finally broke strict quarantine to visit his elderly parents, who are housebound and require a lot of help – his sister has been shouldering the burden since March so we decided to bubble them in so my husband could provide some help, although the kids and I are still staying home.

All this is to say that we have passed into what I am calling The Blurry Phase of quarantine, when all days blur together. Even with a work week/weekend, I am finding it harder and harder to be aware of what day it is. I suppose this is what retirement must feel like – every day is the same, who knows what day of the week or date it is. On any given day, I might do some work, or go for a walk, or go to the grocery store, or clean the house. But it could be any day, really.

The whole idea of the Specialness of Summer is just gone. We used do to Summer of Awesome, remember that? I’d schedule events for every week – from small things like trips to get ice cream, to day trips like museum or beach visits, and even a few longer overnight visits. This year I didn’t even bother to make up the calendar. I tried to brainstorm some activities we could do but either a) we can’t, or b) we don’t feel safe yet, or c) everyone and their cousin are doing it (see: beaches) because there’s nothing else to do and I am not organized enough to get someplace by 8 a.m. and stake out an area.

So we continue to spend our days with a lot of video game time, and watching YouTube, and binge watching Netflix, sprinkled with the occasional Zoom call or walk outside. Day after day after day after day, nothing of note to look forward to, nothing different anywhere on the horizon.

I’m open to your suggestions for safe day tripping that we could maybe add to this summer to make it into something other than a complete bust. But do remember that day trips for us should not include food – i.e. going to a quaint town and getting pastries/fries/local ice cream/fancy hot dogs is not an option due to our many many food allergies. (Even mentioning allergy crap makes me want to throw up my hands in defeat and fuse my own skin to my pyjamas, because it just feels so hopeless.)

Perhaps what we all need is a new hobby we can work on from home. Should we start a family rock band? Should we develop our own board game? Should we build an epic Rube Goldberg machine in the backyard?

Those sound good, actually.

If only I could get off the couch and get dressed, I’d totally make it all happen. Maybe I’ll look into it next weekend, if I can figure out when next weekend actually IS.

9 thoughts on “The Blurry Phase

  1. Not a day trip I suppose, but we spent a few days in Toronto just for mental health sake and it was great. THe city was barely starting phase 2 (we went on July 2) and of course, “everything” was closed, but just walking on different streets and seeing a new scenery felt great. It wasn’t risky either, I mean, you can be outside without being in a crowd and we’re not into bars/restaurants when we’re in Canada anyway.

    For day trips, I took Mark on a hike in Gatineau Park (just check the post on my blog, you’ll see what it looks like) and it was fun. Other than that, we’re hopeless bored at home and it’s taking a toll on all of us. I will come back to the gym as soon as I can (and as soon as it feels okay as well, both in terms of measures and on the practical side). I’ll skip on eating out but that’s not typically something we do in Ottawa and frankly, money is tight.

    As for school, I feel exactly the same as you. Of course I want kids back to school… but can they go back to school???

    1. Mark

      Came here to post this, but you beat me to it.

      I have new respect for squirrels after watching that video. They are incredible.

  2. bibliomama2

    Yeah, pretty much. Eve is the most hesitant about going out, although she’s done a few socially-distanced backyard visits with her friends. Her big project during the time we would have done Bluesfest was repainting her room, which went great. Angus is working cleaning windows and golfing in all his spare time, which has been a godsend for his time at home. We have friends with a big backyard and a pool, so we’ve been able to do some summer get-togethers. I’m not bored – there are always books – but I still feel weird and unsettled. I’ve been thinking I’ll try the Gatineau Park hike thing. Soon. As soon as I get out of my reading chair.

  3. Marianne

    This is us too.
    We have added outdoor socially-distanced visiting with some friends and family in small groups and the kids are now allowed to go on playstructures (when they can be convinced to leave the house).
    The almsot-13-year-old is a pajama-wearing sloth. She is all about books, Netflix and computer games with the occasional puzzle. She says she doesn’t want to do anything and absolutely refuses to phone, e-mail or otherwise message friends and classmates. But when one invited her for a socially-distanced bike ride last week she sprang out of bed, into clothes, and was out the door in minutes.
    The 9 year old expressesboredom more often. She misses her friends and often socializes online with them through MessengerKids and playing Roblox. She will go walking or biking with a friend at the drop of a hat.
    I’m tired of being at home and want to get back to my students and teaching, but I am also very apprehensive about what the new school year will bring.

  4. I’m on vacation for the next few weeks and am desperately trying to find any activities that we can do to make at least a few of the days feel different. We might try going to Park Omega, which we’ve visited many times before and love. It’s great because you can stay in the car and bring your own food. My only concern is about washrooms – the park is about an hour from Ottawa, so at some point we’ll have to find a public restroom, but I’m hoping that if we make it quick, wear a mask and wash our hands it will be ok? The other option that we came up with was mini-putt. If it’s not too buys presumably we can stay away from the other groups, and it’s all outdoors so I think it will be ok…

    1. We’re considering both of these as well, but like you, I’m also worried about public washrooms. Most fast food places have closed washrooms so I’m not even sure where we would stop. The mall, I guess? Hm. I do recommend Mini Golf Gardens for mini putt, they have two courses there that are very nice, all outdoors.

      We’re also considering a beach and some Gatineau Park hikes. On the yellow flag list – the art gallery, Mont Cascades water park, and a 1000 Islands boat ride. Not sure if we feel safe doing those last three but they certainly are tempting right now!

      1. Thanks for the mini golf tip – we’ll check that out! We might also go to the experimental farm – popping in and out of the barns might be ok. Like you, not sure about visiting a museum or art gallery…

  5. Miker

    You have enough Ultimate players (or past Ultimate players) in the family that you should try disc golf. That’s what I did this year, and I might be addicted now. There are special disks (representing “clubs” in golf), but you can play with a regular ultimate disc (if you don’t have enough for your family, I have plenty of extras). There’s a free 9 Hole par 3 course behind Earl of March ( – I haven’t tried it since I’ve been playing at UPI, but it looks good. Put the udisc app on your phone for easy scoring and maps.

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