The week gone by — Oct. 17

Ahhh … memories.

I was in Toronto, tagging along with Suzi on her work trip. She was off doing something her conference when the Balloon Boy saga began.

If I remember correctly, CBC covered the story for what seemed like the whole afternoon, and while I expect better of Canada’s national broadcaster — perhaps my Canadian pals can disabuse me of that notion — I watched, so I guess I was the sucker.

Until I saw the reminder, I had completely forgotten about it, other than that the little boy had been home all along and that the story began to unravel almost immediately.

As I thought about it for the first time in about 11 years, 11 months and 25 or so days, I even had the passing thought that maybe it took place in Canada, which is why CBC had gone all CNN and repeated the same nothing that they knew for hours because there was nothing new to know.

But no, it was actually in Colorado, and the governor pardoned the boy’s parents right before Christmas last year.

So that’s how that one ended. And now we all know.

What I wrote

Suzi and I met my parents and brother for lunch for my mother’s birthday, and things felt so … close … to … normal. (More thoughts on getting back to “normal” is in the next section.)

“When we went to Yarde Tavern for my mother’s birthday last year, and when Suzi and I had lunch there in May because South Hadley makes for a nice getaway day, we sat outside because we had to.

This time, our reservation was for inside, but we asked to sit outside once we got there because we wanted to.”

Beef barley soup is tasty, even if I associate it with pain.

“Every few months, I’d have to get my braces tightened, a wonderfully pleasant experience that involved removing the existing wire and replacing it with a new one that was just a little bit tighter.”

I was a fumbling mess when it happened … but it finally happened.

“Between taking my mask off, hanging my badge around my neck and answering the phone, the things-to-hands ratio was not in my favor, and I knocked my glasses off so they were sitting between the seat and the door.

Klutziness aside, the phone call was what I hoped it would be … a job offer.”

One of my best friends celebrated her birthday. Facebook recommended some very inappropriate gifts.

“WTAF is this?

Who thinks this is even a good gag gift, and … just in case everyone forgot … for a WOMAN?!?!?!”

I don’t particularly care if a show if popular; if I’m not interested, I’m not watching.

“‘Squid Game’ reminds me of another show that everybody’ was watching that I didn’t have any interest in. Since I live in New England, I don’t need a TV show to remind me that ‘winter is coming.’”

Whether Wiffle balls and baseballs as a kid to golf balls as an adult, I’ve lost a lot of them.

“If you want to say I couldn’t find my ball because I wasn’t used to being in the fairway, you wouldn’t exactly be wrong, but the problem this time was that I was golfing during the fall, and leaves were falling off the trees onto the golf course.

I don’t remember if the ball I was playing with was yellow or orange, but either way, I couldn’t find it because it blended in with the leaves.”

Stuff I read

Rick remembers the start of the AIDS epidemic … and how people who had it were treated.

“He went from being a human being to a shunned freak, a punching bag of sorts, not worthy of even the smallest amount of compassion or respect. I remember on numerous occasions his coworkers walking past him with a look of pure disgust and hate on their faces; the ugly side of humanity.”

Pea Green is coping, because she has to.

“So for me, coping, looks like there’s nothing to cope with. My every day life is probably pretty much like everyone else’s: school runs, work, juggling other commitments, getting the boys to where they need to be at the right time and remembering extra stuff for special events at school, shopping, ironing, making meals and changing beds.”

One of Lindsay’s children has COVID.

“17:16 Abigail’s test comes back positive.

‘No Mam. I don’t want to have Covid.’

‘Aw, are you worried about missing school?’

‘No. Dancing.’

Lindsay’s happy to see her daughter has her priorities right.”

Vee had a job interview that she thought was going well but is now afraid she messed up. I, of course, have no idea what that’s like. (I know very well what that’s like.)

“It started so well. It started so, so well. Now I don’t know what to think and I’m probably going to overthink it all weekend long. And probably for the rest of my life, because he doesn’t want me for the role. I’m talking myself out of it, peeps. I’m talking myself out of it.”

Giggles thought she had met a guy who was different. He wasn’t.

“And now I am questioning our entire two months and how much of it was he actually with other people and how much was he actually working…like we never specifically said we were exclusive, but he knew EXACTLY how I felt and how I wanted to build a relationship with him and that I was putting all my focus on him and not wanting anyone else.”

What did Mary Anderson do to get Jeff so upset?

“I appreciate your ingenuity. But I’d rather rassle a petulant skunk. Curses.”

Emily has acquired a cat (perhaps to restore some order to the universe).

“He is orange and 2 years old, having arrived as a foundling at my friend Gwen’s door. He made it known that he was hungry. She fed him, had him chipped and fixed, and bought him a shoebox’s worth of colorful plastic toys that he enjoyed and then eviscerated.”

A corn maze, pub food and picking apples were all part of Becky’s long fall weekend with her boyfriend Josh.

“Our goal for this weekend was to make it the most basic fall weekend we could, and I think we definitely accomplished that.”

What is Paul comparing to a box of cereal? Believe me when I tell you it works.

“The conveyor belt jerks forward, suddenly, and the cereal box immediately falls backward. Down goes Frazier! It then must endure a slow, humiliating ride passed all the pretentious sunbathing breath mints and candy bars, who can’t help but snicker. It finally reaches the cashier, but they’re too busy with something else, so the box gets stuck, while the conveyor belt keeps going.”

Josh has unlocked the secret to improved self-confidence … or more accurately, picked it.

“Something inside me had changed the first time that cheap plastic lock had yielded to me, and nothing was going to stop me. I even recently completed the ‘PACLOCK 200K Club’ challenge by picking a particularly nasty 7-pin core filled with spools and serrated pins.”

Graham feels like he’s being pursued.

“This is a nagging doubt, a feral dog

Trailing too close at my heels

Craving trust, but up to no good.”

Tangela is having a rough time, and isn’t going to pretend she’s not.

If the phrase ‘narrowly escaped’ enters your head when you leave work for the day, it may be time for another job.

If you have to take time in the parking lot to mentally prepare yourself before clocking in every day, it may be time for another job.

If you have to cry while you are on the clock at any point, it may be time for another job.”

Claudia isn’t sure she wants to get back to “normal.”

“Maybe the normality we all think we crave is really more of a beacon to bigger and better things: enjoying family time because we are home longer than we have ever been; seeking out those hobbies that were always so elusive because we couldn’t find the energy or the desire; less spending in some areas so that you can save for that trip or course or you always wanted to take; renovating, building, improving your home; and most importantly, taking care of you!”

Mari also has thoughts on “normal” life returning.

“The question that remains is – is going back to normal even possible?

It depends. Personally, I think that we have to redefine what normality means to us. We have to accept that while things will improve, some effects of the pandemic will still remain and some may also not want everything to go back to how it was because of the fear of change.”

T.B.C. has superstitions with both English and Indian origins.

“Don’t clean your house if your guests or family member is heading off to lands afar. Do it the day after… I Just… don’t… !!!”

What does moving from South Africa to Australia look like? Let Michelle show you.

“It’s crazy how we packed up our whole lives in about two and a half months. It made me realise how little I actually need.”

Sabrina is 30, which she finds inconceivable.

“Shouldn’t I have it more together right now? Shouldn’t I know what I’m doing by now? Shouldn’t I feel more like a real grown up and not just a kind of sort of grown up mostly defined that way by absolutely not feeling like a teenager?”

As for Bruce, he’s 63, but even though he’s getting older, he doesn’t plan on growing up.

“My youngest daughter and I took a lot of road trips to nowhere during the pandemic. She keeps me young, and I make her old. That’s a bargain.

One thing I continue to do as I’ve aged: I tell my kids I love them every time I speak with them. If you can do one damn thing for your kids is make sure they know they’re loved. When I’m gone, I hope they remember and pass that on to their children.”

Cass and her fellow Canadians celebrated Thanksgiving.

“I am extremely grateful for my family, my future husband, Mr. Maverick and my friends. All their love & support means the absolute world to me.

I am grateful that I have a career that pushes me, & that I have extremely supportive colleagues.

Last but not least, I am so, so grateful for my health, that I am healthy & of course, my loved ones health.”

In America, the day of Canadian Thanksgiving is increasingly being called Indigenous Peoples’ Day, but according to Austin, Aaron has some thoughts on the man first associated with the holiday.

“I’m thrilled that we are celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day, rather than Columbus Day,” he explained. “Columbus was a d**k and a horrible human being, who doesn’t deserve any sort of honor. But maybe more importantly, he didn’t do anything to deserve recognition.”

Pepper is not happy with people who try to make Halloween a day other than Oct. 31.

“I don’t care if it’s Sunday and the children have school the next day and you have to go to work. There’s a simple solution for that: start early and end early. That’s it!!! So simple. Quit pushing a more complicated solution that burdens everyone else for YOUR issue!”

Alexis’ grandparents inspired her love of languages, but now there’s a new challenge.

“My grandmother is even older now. We face a new language barrier these days, one much more complicated than simply speaking different languages. Dementia has hindered my grandmother’s ability to hold conversations, to be fully present anymore. Her language skills now include only words or phrases that often don’t align with what’s happening around her.”

Jen has the secret to “having it all.

“When a close friend recently asked me this very question about how I balance family responsibilities and work challenges (she’s a stay-at-home mom and I’m a work-outside-the-home mom), my response was one of humour but also, I didn’t know anything truer: ‘I make sure everyone in my house has two weeks’ worth of underwear.’ Yep. That’s the bloody secret.”

The Huntress is going through a rough time, but a helpful mechanic made things at least a little better.

“Dave was that much needed ray of sunshine to restore my faith in humanity. He is the silver lining in a downpour of professional problems, because let face it the issues with my car could have been worse than what it was. And, it definitely would have taken a lot longer than one day for someone else to figure out the problem.”

Tweets I liked

I don’t know where this is, but I’d like to.

Sasha is telling me “Don’t even think about getting a second cat, and definitely not a dog.”

A very interesting listen, and here’s the essay that goes along with it.

Daniel Craig played James Bond, so even without the rest of his CV, that’s who I’m going with.

As I was saying …

10 thoughts on “The week gone by — Oct. 17

  1. I remember hearing about the 6 year old boy, except here in the states it was a children’s bouncy house not a hot air balloon. I was glued to the TV that day thinking that story was true. Was relieved it wasn’t and shocked the parents made up such a horrible story. Also felt a little dumb for believing such a story lol. Great post I really enjoyed it. 😁

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! The whole thing did seem sketchy from the beginning, but everyone was treating it like it was true, so as you’re watching it, you were thinking maybe it was …?


      1. I kept picturing this huge bouncy house flying through the air and thinking how scared that little boy was. I may have even looked up at the sky thinking I would get a glimpse of the flying balloon.(sounds silly so I’m not actually admitting it lol) I never heard if the parents were charged with anything.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, I remember that balloon boy story! I was in my first year dorm room watching the coverage. They were tracking that balloon, expecting a child to come tumbling out at any moment. Whenever CNN is covering something “big”, our news networks normally jump on board too, though since then I don’t know if CBC has so quickly left their scheduled programming.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. This is the second time in the past week my attention has been brought to the boy in the balloon back in 2009–weird. Did you hear the reasoning behind the gag…? It was because they wanted their own reality show. They pulled a similar stunt (if my memory serves) at a presidential dinner where they showed up to attend and made a big stink when they were turned away because they weren’t on the list. What an odd reality they must live in.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: The Great Nice North – A Silly Place

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