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