Will You Guess the Punch Line Before Me?

The gentleman turns around and he gives me a slight nod.  I give him a brief smile behind my mask.  I then take my turn.

Later on, I describe him to my husband.

“He was quite tall.  Wearing a mask.  He looked about 50 years old, give or take a couple of years.  He did not appear flustered or in a hurry.”

Butchart Gardens
A magical evening at Butchart Gardens (2019)

One Ordinary Morning in December, 2020

Our Home

The Provincial Health Order:  We are to socialize only with the people in our immediate household.  

My husband and I are the only ones living in our home. 

I head out the door to complete a few last minute errands before Christmas. 

I leave behind my husband and two strange men wearing masks.

One year ago, two strange men wearing masks in our house would have been a significant cause for concern.

Not this morning.

I am thankful they have arrived to deal with the consequences of an unexpected flood in our family room.

We have had strange, masked men in our home almost every day for the past three weeks.

An ordinary morning for us this December, 2020.

First Stop – Walmart 

My first errand is to purchase Walmart gift cards.

I try to shop locally, yet I know young families buy supplies at Walmart.

They appreciate receiving gift cards throughout the year.  Especially this year.

2020 has been a challenging and unpredictable year for everyone. 

The Walmart Checkout

All of the tills are now self checkout.

I want to place a specific dollar amount on a gift card.  Not a straightforward task.

With trial and error and some help, I realize the sensor will only “ping” if the barcode is placed upside down.

One very out of breath, Walmart team member is trying to be in twenty places all at the same time.  It appears every customer requires help registering their purchases.

Likely an ordinary morning for this Walmart employee.

Next Stop – The Bank 

I am pleased to see a short lineup for the ATM bank machines.

The ATM machine asks me what I would like to do.

Me:  Deposit a cheque

ATM:  ‘Where?’

Me:  Into my chequing  account

ATM:  ‘Insert cheque’

Me:  I try to insert my debit card first

ATM:  Does not accept my debit card  

Me:  I insert my cheque. The request sequence must be new.  

ATM:  ‘Would you like to do another transaction?’

Me:  Would the ATM machine actually give me money now before inserting my debit card?

I test it and request $20.00  

ATM:  Spits out $20.00

ATM:  ‘Would you like a receipt?’

Me:  Yes

ATM:  Spits out a receipt and spits out a debit card

 Not my debit card, of course.

Butchart Gardens
Butchart Gardens (2019)

You Have Likely Guessed the Punch Line Long Before Me

I should have clued in right away!

Yet, everything has changed this year.

  • Everywhere I go, I have to watch the arrows.
  • Which plexiglass do I stand behind?
  • Do I pass the item to the employee to be scanned?  Do I scan the item?
  • Can I tap or do I need to insert my card?
  • I am expecting change from the moment I wake up.
  • I expect the unexpected. 

This is just another Ordinary Morning in December, 2020


Sharing this story with my husband

Me:  I could have been $111,095. dollars richer this morning.  The receipt shows the balance in his account.

His debit card even had white tape with four numbers written on it.  Easy, peasy.

My husbandYou would make a terrible crook.

Depositing a $142.00 cheque into a stranger’s account.  Then only taking out $20.00.  You are not at all richer.

Besides, the security cameras have seen your face.

What changes have you experienced this December, 2020?

Have you had any unexpected challenges this Christmas?

Behind the Scenery

Our Christmas will be different in 2020.

We want to make sure our children have good, happy memories of a unique year.

We are very fortunate and have many blessings.

On Christmas day, we will be listening to 35-year-old scratchy vinyl records while we open our gifts.  A tradition in our family.

This year all Christmas carols and laughter via Zoom.

              The gift of presence is still always the best present.

As my daughter, Alisha, tells us, “how we spend Christmas this year will allow us all to spend Christmas together next year.”

Have a safe, healthy Holiday Season.

I look forward to seeing everyone in 2021. ❤️

Baking cookies – a Christmas Tradition in Past Years

161 thoughts on “Will You Guess the Punch Line Before Me?

  1. Wonderful to find your blog through Annika Perry. I love the way you retell events and you bring out the ordinary extraordinariness of our new wAys of living. Your children are wise and let’s hope for all those future Christmas and feasts of being together. Wishing you all the best for 2021.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nice to meet you, Georgina. I have been visiting your fascinating and beautiful blog site. I look forward to reading more. I am grateful for our neck of the woods despite some of the challenges this past year. I like your phrase “ordinary extraordinariness of our new ways of living.” A perfect description. Happy New Year and I look forward to sharing and connecting in 2021.🙂 Erica

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you. It is one way that keep us connected across the world. I find I post about once a month now but in my head more. It is good to meet you and glad you can also google in to another place so easily. I look forward to your posts to.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reading and sharing your kind comment, Sheryl. I LOVE reading your blog and I just finished reading about your 10-year-Anniversary. An amazing story. Keep it going. It is a fun, interesting and positive part of our world. Happy New Year!


  2. When I’ll think back on December 2020 I shall always smile and remember that it was the year in which the introverts won the war on Christmas parties. Made my quiet little homebody heart happy, I tell you.

    Happy New Year, Erica/Erika. I’m back to blogging and I’ve missed your thoughts and insights.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Happy New Year, Ally, I felt secretly happy to have a quiet Christmas, even though I greatly missed my immediate family, especially all the changes with the young children. Thank you for your kind, supportive comment. Back at you, how I greatly appreciate your thoughts and take on life.❤️ One day at a time. It does significantly help to be part of a supportive and kind community.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Lovely to hear that you are safe and well, Eric/ka.
    I didn’t guess it at all. How very confusing. I wonder how long these changes will last and which ones will remain post Covid. I feel sorry for the team member at Walmart. What happened to the other staff members?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Amanda. And I am happy to read how you are safe and well. Definitely many concerns throughout our planet. It was an unusual Monday morning, yet in many ways I am expecting the unusual and trying to go with the flow. I may have been at the Walmart when people were on break or sick and right before Christmas. Stay safe and take care Amanda.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Weird times we are living through. That we should expect the unusual. If you some concerns about visiting Walmart, can you get a Covid test? Otherwise, do you have your own strategy for staying safe in your area?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Our numbers are not very high on Vancouver Island and most of us are taking the restrictions seriously. We Zoom with friends and family. I had no concerns Covid-wise at Walmart. I think they happened to be short staffed and it was early morning.


  4. Hi Erica/Erika,
    Happy New Year. We used to catch up via Midlife Share the Love. Now, I am subscribing to more blogs such as yours to continue the conversations as I have missed them. This COVID thing sure is a crazy and scary way to live. Blogging is a great therapy for me. I hope to see you again as a commenter when you get a chance if you choose to link up on any Monday.
    Stay safe, and warm!


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Denyse, Thank you for visiting here. I often see your inspirational and fun photos on Instagram. The Blogging community is very supportive and kind. I look forward to reading more of your updates. Take care. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Erica/ Erika
    Or how about thisEricka
    Well just came from Annika’s blog and loved your book review there –
    You are generous with your words and time and seem so genuine
    Hope you are having a great start to the year

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Coming from you, this means a great deal, Yvette. I have only started writing reviews and I find them daunting. There is often sooo much I would like to say about a book, especially how it made me feel. As you know, Annika has a gift with words. I look forward to reading your post on this subject. Today is a gift drop off outside for my Granddaughter, Abby’s 5th birthday. I am already emotional. Hope you and loved ones are well

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Erica, that is an astute observation that the extraordinary has become ordinary during this pandemic. It sure puts pressure on all of us to adapt. I love the fact that you made the effort to retain some of the traditions of Christmas in spite of everything, like playing Christmas carols on scratchy old records. We did a family Zoom call at Christmas too, and although it was nice to see everyone’s face, it was mostly frustrating and awkward. We learned the hard way that you cannot have multiple devices connected to Zoom in the same room unless all but one mutes the audio; otherwise the feedback is awful.

    Beautiful photos. You have a wonderful flair for recounting difficult moments with a twist of humour. Some of us (no names mentioned) just have a temper tantrum.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your very kind words, Jude. The stories often come to us since truth is stranger than fiction. Especially during this past year. You make a great point about Zoom and multiple devices in the same room. It is never ideal yet an option right now. I always love your candid, genuine input, Jude, since we both have many of the same family dynamics. We also both prioritize our family.❤️


  7. wow you literally took us all there, feel like I’ve had a visit! With house repairs, faulty ATMs and a wonderfully graphic description in words and amazing photos! What a gorgeous family. You did your best at a safe distance 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Kate, for your thoughtful comment. In retrospect it was an extraordinary morning, yet, also felt ordinary for December, 2020. I also suspect everyone I encountered that morning may have felt the same way. Just adapting, putting one foot in front of the other. I greatly appreciate your supportive comments today and always.🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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