How are you?

Tired and exhausted? Tired from trying to keep it all together? Exhausted from trying to figure out how to make ends meet, how to work from home, how to home school, how to home school while working from home, how to shift a business model, how to care for everyone and act like its no big deal?

It appears we are in this for the long haul. So, I’ve decided the only way I’m going to survive is through humour.

Obviously, the seriousness of COVID-19 is no laughing matter. But we need to find a way to cope with the dangers and limitations we’re facing or risk serious mental health consequences.

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What’s the deal with food prices?

I can’t be the only one who has noticed certain items on my grocery bill becoming more expensive since COVID-19 safety measures have been put in place.

At the beginning I chalked it up to having two young adult children at home 24/7 – but as I continue to keep a close eye on the totals, I’m not sure this is only culprit.

According to a new report from Dalhousie University and the University of Guelph, the average Canadian family is set to spend a lot more at the grocery store. Each year, Canada’s Food Price Report predicts changes in the major food categories and outlines the factors, both expected and unforeseen, that influence the cost to the consumer.

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Clothesline-gate

At the September 14 joint committee meeting, on the agenda was a communication item for direction. It was a request that council consider a bylaw to regulate clothes lines.

Hmmm…

Council received the correspondence for information. The discussion around the table included climate change. The request was classist and distasteful.

In April 2008 then Premier Dalton McGuinty banned the ban on clotheslines in the province. In 2018, when Premier Doug Ford repealed the Green Energy Act, he upheld the pro-clotheslines provision, moving it to the Electricity Act.

Although municipalities in Ontario can’t ban clotheslines out right, they can pass bylaws regulating their use. To some, clotheslines are considered eyesores that lower and endanger property values.

If you read any article or pamphlet on how to save energy at home, one of the top recommendations is to use outdoor line drying for laundry to save money, protect the earth, and even whiten white clothes.

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Who will drive the school buses?

Yesterday, on what would have been for many kids their second day back, 50 plus school bus routes were cancelled for the rest of the week in Clarington.

Why is this a surprise? The school bus industry has been struggling with a driver shortage for more than five years and the pandemic has only intensified the problem.

When it can take up to three months for a person to become qualified to operate a school bus – how is this going to change in the foreseeable future?

The school bus transportation system has been built on a model of recruiting retirees. The average age of a bus driver is 57, with some in their 70s. Many drivers have decided to remain off the job due to age-related health risks from COVID-19.

Regulations vary across provinces and school boards. Some governments such as Quebec have introduced limits on the number of students allowed on a bus. New Brunswick, Saskatchewan and British Columbia are allowing for barriers between the drivers and passengers. A similar precaution has not been guaranteed in Ontario, sparking concern among drivers.

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Life lessons and a pandemic

A lot has changed in the last six months, and it likely won’t be going back to being completely normal anytime soon. I have been learning some life lessons and trying to reset priorities.

Prioritizing our relationships with family and friends. I think we should take a minute and appreciate what we are being given: a chance to reconnect and understand each other.

Life Lesson: The people closest to you deserve your time and attention, and vice versa. No more excuses for not having enough time to do so; we have enough technology at our fingertips to stay connected no matter what. For those who feel they can’t reach out to family, remember that family isn’t only a blood connection. So, find your people, your loved ones, and use this time to strengthen the bonds you do have.

Make health and wellness a priority.

Life lesson: Take care of yourself now so that your body and mind can fight for you later.

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