Is “The End” in Sight?

Remember those cartoons depicting a character holding a sign saying “The End Is Near”? Sometimes the character had long unkempt hair, a full beard, and a long billowing robe, like a soothsayer, or a hermit. Sometimes the sign was held by a character who was a regular in the cartoon strip, like Snoopy in the “Peanuts” strip by Charles Schultz. Or one of the cavemen in Johnny Hart’s “B.C.” comic strip. I remember that it seemed to be a common meme when we were kids. Long, long before the term “meme” was part of our everyday parlance..

Anyway, I need a sign like that. Except mine will say… “Please, please, let the end be near.”

My new mask says "Please, please, let the end be near."

Of course I’m not talking about the end of life itself. But about the end of life as we have come to know it this past year and a bit. The end of pandemic life. Of lockdowns and stay-at-home orders. And closed borders. The end of lonely grandparents who can’t hug their grandchildren, and elderly parents who have remained unvisited by their daughters for over a year and a half. The end of curbside pick-up only and empty restaurant patios. And the end of zoom get-togethers. Gad, I am so done with Zoom.

I read an article recently in The Guardian that talked about the unexpected effects of working from home, of working alone, meeting colleagues and clients only on a screen. “The Empty Office: What We Lose When We Work From Home” looked at, among other things, how sharing a work space has subtle but important effects on how well we work. I applaud the researchers who are trying to prove what most of us who have worked as a team already knew, that being with people in real life is way better than communicating through a grid of talking heads on a screen. And that working as a team IRL gets better results than working together on screen.

The informal communication that happens in a shared workspace is invaluable, even in so-called “formal” meetings. The unscheduled interruptions, shared side-long looks, body language, the ability to have more than one conversation at a time, being able to flap your hands in excitement to interrupt and agree with someone or share a thought. That was always my specialty. When I had an idea, I’d flap my hand and say, “Oh, oh, oh, I’ve got it.”

That’s why, to me, book club meetings on Zoom, while better than no book club at all, are boring. And unsatisfying. My teacher friends say it’s hard to get kids talking in Zoom classes. I know how they feel. The kids, I mean. Our last Zoom book club meeting had some very long pauses that would never have occurred before. People didn’t seem to have much to say except desultory chat. The book discussion kind of went no where. I had several things I’d wanted to say that I didn’t. They went right out of my head. The energy of a discussion always gets me thinking, but this one had me forgetting I ever had anything to say.

I recall so clearly the benefits of working with a bunch of other teachers in the same prep room. Even while we sat at our own computers, we could scoot our chairs together and quickly toss ideas around. I might overhear two colleagues talking about an activity that would help me with my own issues. We could easily share resources, help each other solve problems. Or just bond as a group over shared lunches and laughter. I can’t imagine working alone at home all semester, only seeing my colleagues and students on a screen. Meetings and classes where only one person can speak at a time? What’s with that? Arg. How “bottled up” that must feel. Because that’s how I feel at my Zoom book club discussions… bottled up. Stifled, almost.

But hopefully no more. The good news is, with Ontario going into stage one of reopening on Friday, my book club meeting on Saturday will finally be in person. Outside, mind you. And suitably distanced. But in person. Finally.

So does that mean that the end of the pandemic is in sight? That this time reopening is the beginning of the end. Instead of, like last year at this time, just the end of the beginning? Let’s hope so.

In other good news, Ontario is ramping up the vaccine roll-out. Thank goodness.

Not that I’m complaining about how it’s gone to date. Despite all the changes in policy and the slowness in getting vaccines initially, apparently Canada is number one in the G20 nations with getting first shots into people’s arms. I think that’s a statistic that would surprise most Canadians, me included when I heard it. And last week Ontario made a move to get second shots to Ontarians faster than initially planned, starting with citizens over 80 who could rebook their second shot earlier than originally scheduled.

This week, starting on Monday, people over 70 could rebook their second shot if they wanted. I spent hours on the computer on Monday morning booking Hubby a new date for his second shot. The process was time-consuming and frustrating. I waited on-line in a queue for an hour, then was kicked off the site because it closed down. In all I spent almost five hours on, or hovering near, my computer that morning. Watching a tiny icon cross the screen, telling me when my turn to log onto the provincial booking site would come. I was in line behind thousands of other people doing the same. Group emails from my book club flew back and forth all morning, who had booked when and where. I seemed to be the only one who had not been successful. I kept trying.

After the second unsuccessful try, I made a cup of tea and had a little cry. Pandemic fatigue. All of a sudden I was just so tired of everything, and cross at everyone and no one in particular. Hubby was off golfing, which frankly didn’t help my mood. But don’t tell him that. Besides, it was better that I was doing this by myself. He’d only have been fuming and pacing which wouldn’t help. I called my Mum and ranted a bit to her. She agreed that it was best if Hubby was not around when all this was happening. While I talked to Mum, I weeded the flower bed. Again. That darned bed is getting more care from me this year than ever before. Ha.

Then I went back indoors and tried again. My third try was successful, and after another hour of waiting to log on, I booked Hubby an appointment several weeks earlier than his original booking.

That evening, after supper, a friend called and I found out that I could book myself too. The rules about who was eligible had changed. I had not planned to be able to book myself for at least another week. That was a revelation. My appointment for my second shot, which wasn’t until August, had been our biggest impediment to getting down east before the summer ended. I rushed to the computer and was able to get on the provincial booking site with no delays at all.

I guess everyone who’d wanted to book an appointment that morning had been doing it at the same time. And funnily enough as the process, and the day, wore on more vaccine sites came online, and more appointment blocks were created. I now have an appointment for my second shot next week. I’m elated.

But as stressful as I found that Monday morning endeavour, I am not complaining. At least not anymore. I look at the fact that it was Monday morning, the first day of the “new rules.” And the fact that the site updated and changed its information throughout the day, that it responded to the changing situation, cancelled old appointments automatically as new ones were made, and sent millions of messages and emails confirming all these arrangements to tons of Ontarians. The glitches were ironed out pretty darned quickly. Even as I cursed and fumed all morning, I knew this.

Soon both Hubby and I will be fully vaccinated. And so will many, many more Canadians. And maybe, just maybe, we might make it down east this summer.

I’ll take those two small pieces of good news as emblematic that this is the beginning of the end of Covid life as we have come to know it this past year. No more Zoom book club meetings. And by the end of next week I will be fully vaccinated. Hubby will follow the week after.

I’m going to focus on the idea that although we will have weeks and weeks yet of cautious reopening, we will probably be in New Brunswick for Mum’s birthday in late August. Depending on if our province can maintain the speed of the vaccine roll-out, the kids and my teacher friends will probably be back to in-person learning and teaching by the fall. That will be wonderful for them all. No more stifled Zoom classes. Heaven.

All of this won’t mean the end of the pandemic. We will still be wearing masks at times. We will still be social distancing in public places. Travel will still be limited. People will still get sick. Businesses may still fail. The fallout of the past year and a half will be far reaching and last for a long time.

There will be glitches. I think we have to expect glitches along the way. But I also think as we get more good news, we’ll be better able to handle the glitches as they present themselves.

And as we move forward I think we all need to complain a little less. I’m tired of hearing all the complaints, my own included, of how governments and social agencies at various levels have coped with the pandemic. The seemingly ever-changing rules and regulations, the poorly communicated guidelines, the bad decisions. The responsibility of running things during a pandemic has been massive, and not everyone has been up to the job.

Saying this makes me think of a woman whose name I didn’t even know in 2019. She heads up her province’s response to Covid. We see her and all the other provincial spokespeople on the CBC national daily news broadcast which we watch to follow Covid news here and in New Brunswick. Over the course of this very long year and a half, that poor woman has visibly aged right in front of us. From everything I hear about her, I think she has done a good job. But gosh almighty, she looks so tired. Both Hubby and I have remarked upon this. This is what too long under the glare of public opinion, shouldering huge responsibility can do to a person. Just looking at her makes me feel that I should complain a little less. I’ll bet she is hoping that this is the beginning of the end too.

Now back to Monday. When Hubby came home from golf that afternoon, I was in the basement pedalling my exercise bike. After I’d booked his second vaccine appointment and printed off his confirmations, I decamped to the basement with my audio book to pedal away some of my frustrations. After all, there’s only so much weeding a girl can handle as stress reduction. When he came downstairs to say he was home, I made him sit and listen to every single, tiny detail of my very long morning. I’m pleased to say that he was suitably grateful.

Now how about you, my friends? Are you hoping this is the beginning of the end of the pandemic? Any good news to share with us?


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69 thoughts on “Is “The End” in Sight?”

  1. We have our second shots booked and will have those done by the first week of July. And we’ve planned a quick visit to the island to see our son’s family for the first time in ten months. I have to agree with you that, armchair quarterbacking and hindsight aside, so many of our decision-makers (at least here in BC) have done a stellar job. Someone vocal was always ready along the way to cite some “latest study” or other, but the experienced epidemiologist who sorted the science on which decisions were made had a much wider range of issues to balance than her critics could even imagine. I’m really proud of the way Canada prioritized getting first doses out to such a comprehensive portion of our population. And the second doses are happening quickly now. I can’t wait to hear that you and your mother are reading together in her home. xo

  2. We are feeling the same here . As if we’ve turned a corner . We had our second jabs in the middle of April , about 10 weeks after the first . As in Canada the scientists reckoned it was safer for us all to have the first jab ASP as it gave good protection for everyone then they gradually overlapped with the second for those most at risk ie us older ones . We didn’t have to book appointments . We were called forward by our National Health number – issued at birth , which was a fair system. I was so happy to get the phone call . As younger people became eligible they did have to book but the system worked well & they are busy with the 20 – 30 year olds now . We are still holding our breaths though . The new Delta strain is causing increased infections but , as yet , not major hospital admissions or deaths . It looks like they are going to delay the dropping of all restrictions until July because of this . That’s fine with me . Meanwhile we have had a good holiday in Scotland, met up with family around here & arrangements are being made for get togethers with friends . Today we are travelling to South Yorkshire for lunch at the home of our oldest friends . We’ve zoomed & been grateful but as you say , not the same . It’s certainly making me appreciate small things I have taken for granted . Our first coffee & cakes out was pretty exciting . I’m so pleased you are having your second jab soon & will be heading eastwards before long . That’s going to be a long hug I think .

    1. I read about the Delta strain this morning. It’s troubling. Hope they can get that vaccine out a bit faster so it doesn’t take hold. We are off camping next weekend. Yah. But when I come home it will be coffee and cakes for me on an outdoor patio somewhere!

  3. Here in England – different for each of the nations that make up the UK – I have been impressed with the speed and efficiency of the roll-out. We are both fully vaccinated and my son is due his next week. Not sure about my daughter in Scotland. And yes, I do scent a change in the air but, as you say, with reservations. And yes, it is the wearying tedium that tires and sometimes causes me to lose my temper dramatically over small things while I strive daily to keep on an even keel. I am more than capable of feeling tearful at the sight of very elderly people in masks, usually with walking sticks, trying to keep going with their daily round. And furious at those people who STILL refuse to cover their noses or wear their masks on their chins. Clinging on now to idea that mid-July will be our date to drop restrictions, even if it means my proposed jaunt to Cornwall will be delayed again. Can I put it this way…I have just started my Spotify Christmas songs list.

    1. Very elderly and very young people in masks always gets me too. A toddler the other day in the grocery store, sitting patiently in her Mum’s cart wearing her mask. Wow. Sign of the times.

  4. I have a friend who went to work for the WHO in December 2019. Talk about timing. And exhaustion.
    I have worked remotely for 17 years. I love it and hate it. I loved being able to be present for my kid. “I’m not available at that time,” I would say to clients, sounding very in demand when I was really taking my little one to baby swimming, or making lunch for the family (everybody came home for lunch). No need for excuses or too much sharing.
    OTOH, I could spend most of the week without seeing anybody but my husband and kid, and that was hard. I talked to people all day, but they were usually on another continent. And I hate the gig aspect, which has worsened over the years–being at the mercy of clients, not knowing how much I will earn (and the rates keep going down–competition), having to chase down every payment.
    My antisocial kid prefers remote class. No more being mansplained or talked over by boys. No more having to put up with time-sucking antics in class. Listen to the lesson, do the work, have more free time. But I worry that it’s doing harm to social and psychological development.

    1. Wow, your friend certainly waded in at the deep end to that job. I agree about your daughter. Getting the content learned is only a part of the benefit of school. Although I have had students who even at young ages were exasperated with the “antics” of their classmates. So much of so many jobs these days is team approached. To justify to parents the assignment of group work to students we used to refer to a Canadian study that reported team skills being one of the most important skills that employers wanted. And with so much in school being based on individual achievement team work can get lost in the shuffle. But group assignments have to be well handled by the teacher to avoid one bright kid doing all the work for his or her friends. A common complaint from kids.

  5. I’m a teacher and we have been in person this school year. Mask for all, 6 feet distancing, air scrubbers, constant cleaning, some students were virtual, regular emails about student or faculty COVID infections, even with all this, being in person was 100% worth it. The year was hard. Preschoolers with masks sitting inside hula hoops was funny and disturbing all at the same time. I attempted to teach second language learners how to read when they couldn’t see my mouth or I couldn’t see theirs. It was still better than Goggle Classroom. I’m saying this as an introvert. Yesterday, the teachers had an outside luncheon together and it was utterly joyful. We’ve all been vaccinated so it was as safe as it can be. There were flowing tears and lipstick. Even as one who doesn’t enjoy crowds it was delightful and emotional.

  6. I think this wonderful experiment in life with electronics has been just that- an experiment! It’s neither as good or as bad as was projected or hoped for.My husband has decided to go back to church as it has opened up and he has his shots!However he has signed up for a committee and is having to learn how to Zoom.` Since we are both retired,Zoom has not really played a part of our lives. Our son, who teachers in a school outside Atlanta,Ga. has mixed feelings about the whole process.Great when it works…..but too many ways it can be manipulated by the students(who always figure out those things quickly).It really did sound good at first. we spent one evening discussing the endless possibilities of on line classes with a well-know speaker or expert in that particular field. The reality something else! maybe works in online adult classes whee the student ha paid for the classes, but seem futile in public school where the students”have to be there” Oh well, live and learn? lol I am sure we are all ready for a new kind of freedom! Best,but still stay safe!

  7. It made me smile to know you’re a “hand-flapper” too! I worked from home for 2 months last year and HATED it, although I’d always fantasized about how great it would be – revelation: I’m WAY too “social”. I agree about all the benefits of working on a team. We’re back to full-on, in-person everything now down here, and I’ll never take it for granted again.

  8. As another Ontarian, I agree whole heartedly. I just want to walk into a store. I don’t even need much, but I am NOT an online shopper. I have to see things, touch things. I just retired from teaching this March (as in three months ago), so I know all about online teaching (Microsoft Teams meetings, not Zoom). I have done three stints of supply teaching online and that is not for the faint of heart, doing someone else’s online classroom! I think our premier’s blanket treatment of the whole province instead of region by region was wrong, but alas it doesn’t matter now. One thing I am looking forward to is a wine tasting at a local vineyard, or not even local. That will say “summer” and freedom to me! Oh, and walking around the library, choosing a book as well. -Jenn

    1. Congratulations on your retirement, Jenn. I agree that mistakes were certainly made. And I hope they don’t rush the reopening. I read today that the delta variant is making inroads in the Peel region.

  9. We are both vaccinated and have actually had dinner (outdoors) with friends last week. It feels good and odd at the same time. This pandemic has been hard on everyone in different ways, and the world just seems a bit off kilter as we establish whatever the new normal will be for each of us. Like you, I’ve had some long stretches sitting in phone queues, online chat queues, etc. And I also find myself “cross at everyone and no one in particular.” Hoping for less of those days as we get back to life.

  10. Yes to the beginning of the end! I was finally able to get onto the site for our local health unit and pre-register, but they will email when we are able to get a date. Baby steps. We are having out first little outdoor coffee gathering this weekend and I am sooooo relieved to put the Zoom away for now. It is so hard to be spontaneous with 12 people either trying to talk or no one talking. We will break into smaller groups if everyone shows up, but it will be glorious. I think the going to stores will wait for a week or so until I feel comfortable with that. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel for hugging my grandkids and that will keep me going for now. I bet that book club meeting will be much longer than usual and such fun to catch up.

  11. I am sorry to hear the long waits on computer lines. You are going through what we went through in Jan/Feb.
    Same scenes at our house but where we live Florida began vaccinations for those over 65 first. It was a mad rush and frustrating.
    I was not 65…my husband was. I was 61.
    As more people got shots, things opened up. I was fully vaccinated by April and so is everyone I know who wanted a shot. You can now walk into a pharmacy and get a shot.
    For the past two months masks have come off….finally in stores and restaurants. Its been almost two years since I’ve seen my family. Finally I’m going to visit….masks at the airport and on the plane but hopefully things have turned the corner. I would love to visit Canada again. I hope things move swiftly for all and I hope this brings you hope.

    1. I am so looking forward to most of us being vaccinated. I wonder if people who refuse the shot know they are contributing to the mutation of the disease. Or if they care.

      1. I only know one couple in our neighborhood who refused the shot. And they got Covid. So did ten of their friends and family. Its a shame. Most were lining up missing out on one day only to be up at 5 AM to try again. It took weeks to get scheduled. I spent many hours helping friends as well because I had the time. But it sucked.

        1. Also want to mention I did get ill with a fever for a few days after my second shot. So did my husband but it only lasted a bit and worth it. However some folks are just fine. Everyone is different

  12. So glad you have your appointments for your second shots and that you almost certainly will be able to visit your mother soon. I still have a grandchild I have not yet met in person, but it looks like a month from now we’ll be able to pull it off.
    I do think it’s the beginning of the end, at least for those of us in wealthy countries. The vaccines are truly a miracle. Now we have to focus on making them available all over the world — take your pick as to whether we do it for humanitarian or selfish reasons, as long as we get it done. And don’t get me started as to the idiots here in the U.S. who aren’t getting vaccinated. How stupid can you be?

    1. I’m so glad you mentioned this, MJ. It’s been very much on my mind, but as much as Dr. Ghebreyesus tries to keep this urgent reality in the world’s eye, we seem slow to respond. And, of course, it’s hard to know what we can do individually, and no help at all feeling guilty about the vaccinations (which, after all, protect not only ourselves, but also our communities, a necessary first step).

    2. Thanks, MJ. I am worried about that too. And you’re right do it for whatever reason… just get it done. And the anti-vaxers… sheesh… the opinions I have read on social media are ludicrous.

  13. We’ve both been fully ‘done’ but still we’re scared to go far as Covid numbers are rising dramatically with the Delta variant. We so want to see family but we have to remain cautious for just a while longer. At least the sun is shining today!

  14. Here in Pennsylvania, hubby and I have been fully vaccinated since late March. We traveled to see our Tulsa, OK, family and our now two-year old grandson over Easter weekend and returned from our second post-vaccinations visit yesterday. Some local businesses still require masks, as do the airports and airlines, but that’s a small price to pay to get out and about once again!

    Our second son is a high school math teacher here in PA and couldn’t be happier that the school year has ended. He was teaching both in person and online simultaneously and often lamented the lack of active participation by his online students.

    Although we are still being sensible and cautious about staying safe, we are also hopeful that the end is near!

    1. I have teacher friends who feel the same. Online was better than nothing, but they’re hoping that next year will be different.

  15. Second Shot! Freedom! I was so relieved when I got mine- I wanted to kiss the nurse! Dance a Happy Dance! Sing a Happy Song! I don’t remember anything in my adult life that felt so freeing. Soon you could be Bangra dancing like Gurdeep Pandher!!!!

    1. I know exactly what you mean. It felt humbling and exhilarating at the same time, to be able to say to the bright young woman who popped the needle in (brilliantly done): thank you, you are giving me my life back. You don’t often get a chance like that in our world, to personally thank someone for doing something so important. My gratitude to the scientists and the NHS is unbounded.

  16. I am thankful that you and Stu can get your second shots soon.! Great news and that you most likely can see your Mom soon after such a long time. We have both been fully vaccinated for a couple months. In the last few weeks I have felt comfortable enough to really start getting “ out there”. We ate at a restaurant inside on Monday and I felt okay about it. I had wondered if I would feel anxious. We have two trips planned and will be flying.

    Also on Monday I went with a friend into a clothing store. I had made a pact with myself not to purchase any new clothing for one year. As we looked around, I got so excited that my pact went out the window and I purchased three items. I blame it on Covid release and relief!

    I have been so thankful for Zoom and have used it several times each week for meetings, book studies, classes and family and friends. I am on the low end of extroversion, so it all felt okay to me. We have returned to practicing music with others and going to some meetings, but will still be using Zoom for some classes and sessions. I guess I like a hybrid of Zoom and in person. One thing I think of is how it can save on using vehicles and perhaps be better for the environment. The pandemic has shown us new ways of doing things.

    1. I will be the same no doubt with respect to shopping. My friend Liz and I have a shopping date when things open up. Uh oh… I say to myself. Ha.

  17. I feel for you Sue. We had our second shot mid February here in Southern California and it was such a relief. We went through a bad patch with scarily high case numbers and deaths in November, December and January. One of my sons sat at a separate table on Thanksgiving because he lives in Oakland and we didn’t want to take any chances. Like you I was on it the first day they started making appointments. It took me four tries all morning but I got the appointments. We created a little pod with neighbors and my daughter and granddaughter who live nearby. We would have a small street dance every week which I think saved my sanity. And my book club met on zoom and next month we go live. We took a week long trip to Napa/Sonoma in March and it was wonderful. Hang in there, it will get better soon.

  18. I am a current high school teacher in Ontario, and I am just done with the school year, as are my students, as are my two children, and as is my middle school teacher hubby. I accept that forcing us to teach and learn from home on and off for the last year and a half was a necessity, but upon reflection, I’ve realized that it is a terrible mode of learning for almost all students. I don’t know any of my students: they do not turn their cameras on or speak. It has been a very lonely quadmester. Learning from home is for the introverted, the high achievers, the self-directed and focussed learners, which isn’t most kids! Remote learning has been particularly unfair for 2 parent working families with young students. Anyhow, I can’t wait for normal, in person teaching next fall!

    I agree that the vaccine roll-out has been terribly communicated and “organized” in Ontario.

    And everyone thinks they should be prioritized over some other group.

    But here’s a better way of looking at all of this: at least kids had another mode of learning instead of nothing. And at least there is a vaccine! My husband’s grandmother is 107 and lived through the Spanish Flu, and has now lived through COVID. Compared to the Spanish Flu, we have means of mitigating a complete disaster and we are getting close to the end!

    I think ‘the end’ will be a matter of both what governments permit people to do combined with personal comfort. I am ready to throw away masks, never teach in front of a screen again, and get on with life, but my mom and dad feel a bit more cautious now, and will likely never return to their former lives. My kids may swim with friends in our pool, but some families are insisting that their kids are fully vaccinated, so we will not be seeing them at all this summer or early fall. Some people will be permanently affected by this pandemic, so I think ‘the end’ won’t be something that actually happens for everyone…

    1. I agree, Jo. We are being careful until we get our second shots. I don’t want us to get this far and get sick now. Especially Stu.

  19. Sue, So happy yours and your husband’s vaccines are in sight. I have so much I want to say, but I think I’ll just say….Amen.

  20. Wow, I live in the state of Georgia in the U.S., and my husband I were fully vaccinated by last February. I didn’t realize how far behind us some countries were in the process. I’m glad you will be getting your second shots soon. My husband is on a maintenance Chemo, so his immunity is low, therefore we are still wearing our masks and being careful.

    1. Happy your husband was able to get fully vaccinated. So important for him. In Canada we had a hard time getting vaccine. For a long while the US would not ship us any, and export issues from the EU interfered at that end. But finally the flood gates opened and we have caught up in many ways.

  21. I was fortunate to get my second injection 23 days after the first because I’m a cancer patient (if one can call that fortunate!) Having that happen was a frustrating and uphill battle that involved phone calls all the way to the provincial minister of health’s office, but that’s a very long story. This coming Monday, I’ll probably have to repeat your experience when opportunity opens to book hubby’s second shot.

    Here in Alberta, we’re entering the second stage of reopening tomorrow. We’ll enter stage 3 two weeks after 70% of the population over the age of 12 has had the first dose of vaccine. We were hopeful that that would be by the end of this month, but sadly, it would appear that there may be more than 30% who refuse to be vaccinated. That could leave us in a stalemate position for who knows how long. Very frustrating!

    1. I remember your saying how frustrating it was for you Elaine. And now vaccine refusers, if I can call them that, will throw a monkey wrench into things. Grr.

  22. How on earth did you manage to get your second vaccine booked??? You are younger than I am….
    I suspect that it is because I got a late booking the first time (April 29 because the booking site was so clogged with people in my age bracket trying to get an appointment). The first appointments opened up for my age April 12 and now the cut off date for getting the second one early is people who were vaccinated prior to April 18…. so only the people who managed to book that first week can go now. The website says I must wait until July 19 to even be able to book my second vaccine. By July 19 it is only a month away from my second vaccine. Something seems not quite right but I have no idea how to solve it 🙁

    1. Well. I booked my first shot right away when people over 60 were allowed to book their first shot. I think that we had a week of over 80 booking. Then a week of over 70; I booked Hubby’s first shot that week on March 22. Then I was eligible the next week, and booked my own first shot on April 7, with an appointment on April 16. And this week I just made it under the wire to be able to rebook my second shot earlier than originally scheduled. You are right, on Monday people who were over 70, or who had had their first shot before April 18 were allowed to book. Not sure why if you are older than me you couldn’t book your first shot until after April 12. That’s doesn’t sound right.

      1. I think I figured it out…..depends on the Health Unit that you live in. Mine is one that has had lots of COVID cases so they are trying to get more younger people done so fewer second vaccines being offered. That said it still feels like a bit of a game show trying to get booked

  23. Thanks to the “former guy” we’ve a plethora of the anti-vax crew with doses now going to waste. My Kentucky guv did a wonderful job despite his government “opposers”. Hubs and I received our second jab early February and have been cautiously traveling to see family. I’d been “waiting to exhale” sooooo very long. It’s so very freeing!

  24. Glad to hear your second shots are due soon. We had our back in April thanks to son being a pilot for an air ambulance and we are close contacts. The whole procedure was very easy – the vaccination centre emailed us with a date and time and we turned up. It took about an hour each time but a big relief to have it over. Naturally there has been endless criticism of how the vaccination roll-out has been administered and everyone has a better way of doing things and the Govt and Min of Health is always wrong but those people always exist.
    We are very lucky down here in NZ as we have been “free” to move about for quite some time. After the initial total lockdown we have had a couple of minor lockdowns due to community outbreaks but other than wearing masks on public transport we are more or less back to normal. We have had rock concerts, large sports fixtures and wining, dining and shopping back to normal. I have to admit to a certain caution at first. I felt like a mole coming out from a dark tunnel blinking into the light!
    We have even opened up a travel bubble with Australia and the Cook Islands although there have been a few hiccups with some Australian states as they have had more outbreaks and gone back into lockdown. This has meant people stuck on either side of the Tasman Sea and not able to get home. Both our daughters and their families live in Oz and we haven’t seen them in over a year and a half but will wait until things are a bit more stable and settled.
    I retired from teaching a couple of years ago and am so glad I haven’t had to go through all the online teacher business. My friends who are still teaching have found it tough going. There have been technical problems as well as students just opting out. I found it hard enough to keep reluctant learners on track when I could stand in front of them! But the end of year external exam ( our year ends in Dec) results seem to be on a par with other years so thi is have worked out in the long run.
    I do wonder if the whole experience is going to change our view on life and the world. Perhaps we will be more cautious and perhaps appreciate what is around us.
    Good luck with your real live book club. Would love to be a fly on the wall.

    1. Thanks, Kenzie. I smile every time I read about your bubble including the Cook Islands. Not because the Cook Islands are funny, but because we never hear them mentioned in this part of the world. Bali, Tahiti, all the other more famous islands, but not the tiny, low key Cooks. And we had the most fabulous five days there enroute to New Zealand in 2003. Stayed in a tiny resort of maybe 15 bungalows, walked to the beach across the road and swam over the coral, and reveled in being there amid all the flowers in February, our first tropical holiday. The Maori hosts hugged us both when we left. Great memories.

  25. Leslie in Oregon

    I am so glad to hear that your second vaccinations are scheduled, Sue. Here in Oregon, I was fortunate in that I was able to get my 2nd shot on April 1 and so have been fully vaccinated since April 15. It has been wonderful to be able to hug and spend unmasked time with fellow fully-vaccinated friends. I was euphoric for almost a week after the first such occasion. Unfortunately, the Delta variant and recent scientific findings/advice are causing more vulnerable friends (a transplant recipient and a couple over 75 on medication for autoimmune conditions) to resume masking and social distancing for all indoor rendezvous at least until a booster for the Delta variant is available. What this illustrates is that no one in the world will be able to consider the pandemic “over” until some debated percentage (probably around 70%) of the world’s population is fully vaccinated. And if that does not happen fast enough, we may all have to have a booster shot for the Delta variant before we can once again consider ourselves fully vaccinated. We humans on Earth truly are all in this together, and it is critically important that we don’t consider the pandemic over until it is over for all of us, everywhere. … Which is not to say that you should not visit your mom this summer, Sue. But it is to say that I probably won’t get to visit (and meet for the first time) my on,y grandchildren (identical twins who will be 2 years old in early July) until they are fully vaccinated. 😘

  26. I am so glad you and your husband can both be fully immunized soon, and that seeing your mom is in sight. I find myself still amazed to have the world outside my garden under my feet, and I imagine you might too. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!

  27. Sitting here with my first coffee of the day, cat at my side. Reading all these comments is very uplifting. Great post, Sue.

  28. Sue, great to know you have your second vaccine booked. I was in that online vaccine booking queue on Monday morning and managed to get my second dose rebooked before the system shut down. My friend, experienced the same thing as you, but hallelujah, she too persevered and has a new booking for her second dose too. I am anxious to get my second dose done as I live in the Greater Toronto Area (Peel Region) and the Delta variant is expected to be the dominant strain in 3 to 4 weeks. Presently 10% of the new COVID cases are people who have had their first vaccination.

    I remain cautiously optimistic about the province’s reopening plans.

  29. Congratulation on your vaccine No 2 and fingers crossed for visiting your Mum!

    Living an “old” normal life,with meeting people, family and friends,working normally,traveling…… would be a bliss,but,as there are a lot of people who are not vaccinated,I don’t feel the need to jump in all the activities at once

    Receiving the first dose of vaccine, was really a happy moment for me (especially because my mother was vaccinated as well) . I am fully vaccinated  and have a Covid passport

    I hope that the future will be bright and happy


  30. I just held a studio recital in my backyard this past week – all voice lessons for the past 15 months have been given online, so it was the first time I’ve seen a lot of these people in person for a year (we did a recital like that last year too, and there were a few people who did video auditions that I filmed back in February, but otherwise…). It went very well except for the cicadas, which didn’t SEEM that loud IRT but on the video, oh yeah, they were loud.

    Virtual lessons have had their advantages. I’ve had to learn to listen more. I can’t play while they’re singing, because of the delay, so they’ve had to become more independent – which makes me realize where they have pitch issues and how to fix them. I can also look at them and say, “bring your face closer to the camera, I want to see what you’re doing with your jaw,” in a way that might be frowned upon in person. I’ve also become much more tech savvy. Plus I’ve never BEEN this healthy – although it figures, there’s no place to sing, so it’s kind of a waste. Although my church job is back – in time for the church year to end.

    We did wind up having a reception afterwards in the house because it was so incredibly hot out – the parents came in, the kids mostly stayed outside. I hope they were all vaccinated – my email beforehand did stipulate that, and hopefully no one was flouting the rules. But if they were, I’m fully vaccinated, so….

    But going forward, it’ll probably be a hybrid. In-person for those who want it, online for those who live further away (I have a student in Wisconsin, so she’ll stay online; and the ones closer to DC will as well), or who can’t get to my house for whatever reason. The excuse of “I don’t have a ride” will no longer fly if someone can’t make their lesson – “Okay, then we’ll do it online!”

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