family fun · The COVID files

Day 283: Locked Down

Just after midnight last night, the province went into lockdown. Weren’t we locked down before? I didn’t particularly think we were, but they kept on using that word.

(To paraphrase Inigo Montoya from The Princess Bride, I do not think it means what they think it means.)

You Keep Using That Word "Creative"... » Martech Zone

This time the government means business—er, actually, no business for small businesses (big-box stores, allowed to stay open because they sell groceries, can also sell non-essentials.) The updated emergency order now prohibits visiting another household (so no grandparent visits for a while, sadly.) There’s a bunch of other stuff in there, but it doesn’t really change much for us—our kids aren’t in schools and Mr. December is working from home until at least June 30 of 2021.

This afternoon we took the kids out for some tobogganing. I’ve been to our local toboggan hill on a weekend before, but I’ve never seen it as crowded as it was today. Take a look at the panoramic photo I took: see all those little black specks lining the top of the hills? Those are people. Mr. December assures me that they weren’t standing as close together as it looked from my vantage point at the bottom. I still felt that it was probably not the best idea to be standing around with that many people, all breathing hard from the exertion of trudging up a snowy hill with a sled in tow.

Image description: a panoramic image of a toboggan hill, with many people sledding. The ridge of the hill all around is lined with tiny black specks, which I promise are people. I was there.

COVID concerns aside, and at risk of sounding like a curmudgeon, I was not pleased with the behaviour I saw at the toboggan hill today. When I was a kid, we all knew the cardinal rule of tobogganing was “slide down the middle, clear the bottom promptly, walk up the sides.” Didn’t we? This afternoon I saw so many kids just standing around right at the bottom of the hill for five minutes at a time, and then walking straight up the middle. The people sledding down were no more courteous: they went ahead down the hill heedless of the people standing or walking in their way. I saw more than a few people get hit by oncoming sleds.

There was also an alarming number of off-leash dogs. I don’t like off-leash dogs at any time, but they are an especially bad idea in a very crowded park with small children, fast sleds, and teenagers doing risky stunts with toboggans-turned-snowboards. Where are the bylaw enforcement officers when you need them?

The whole chaotic scene was driving me nuts, but everyone seemed to be having a great time; it also seemed churlish to be annoyed with so many people who were having fun and getting exercise in the great outdoors. So rather than be a killjoy, I turned my back on that part of the hill and joined E on a small secluded slope where ours was the only sled.


After dinner we lit a fire in the fireplace and entertained each other by reading the kindling.

Mr. December started it by noting that the stack of newspapers on the hearth was pretty old: to be precise, the earliest one was dated late February 2019. In other words, pre-pandemic. We laughed out loud at the predictions and shook our heads at the blatant optimism in the articles. K was so tickled by one article that exhorted the reader to “just wash your damn hands” that she plans to post it on her bedroom wall. What can I say? My kids are just a bit weird.

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