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Fabulous, Derailed 2020 Review

January 2020 started off the new year with the same optimism: “New Year. New Me” mantra that we see every year. Some people quit smoking, some quit drinking, and a lot of people filled up the gyms looking to burn off all the weight they gained over the holidays. Everything seemed tickety boo for a few weeks.

Then, we started to get news of the new COVID-19 virus that was bringing countries around the world to their knees. Canada and Alberta quickly jumped into action and put us in our first lockdown, and that’s when all hell broke loose. Yes, darlings, the dumpster fire was lit.

The first thing Albertans, Canadians and U.S citizens did upon learning of the Coronavirus was to go out and buy every last package of toilet paper, paper towels and kleenex they could find. 

Somehow the messages got mixed up though, while the Coronavirus was an upper lung infection, people thought it was going to attack their bowels - that’s the only way to justify or describe the droves of people who lined up around the block at Costco and Walmart nationwide.

People pushed down the elderly and children as they made their way to un-opened pallets of toilet paper and attacked it like piranhas on fresh meat. That kind of panic buying had not been seen since the Cabbage Patch Riots of 1983. 

After everyone was stocked up on TP, things took a bit of a turn when parents found out the kids would not be returning to school after spring break. Moms and dads instantly became first-year teachers.

Their first stop was to the local liquor and cannabis store to stock up on whatever would keep their sanity for what they were about to endure. Armed with early morning wine, the new “teachers” quickly set out to change the curriculum and kiboshed the new math, favouring the old “Carry the 1” style instead. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Next up on the 2020 insanity list is office workers. Now only dressed from the waist up, often with a mimosa in a coffee cup, Zoom meetings and Google Hangouts were the new norm. Workmates got to meet your cats and dogs, screaming kids and the odd scantily clad spouse casually strolling by in the background. The Office was never this good.  

The majority of Wood Buffalo residents took the lockdown in stride. We learned to cook, knit, sew, woodwork, paint, craft, do hair, and bake.  Boy, did we bake! At one point, there was a flour shortage and not a package of yeast to be found. Sourdough starters became the number one, must-have item. It’s a good thing everyone bought all that toilet paper.

The only real downside from all the jobs we learned to do this year will be in 20 years when all the kids realize their at-home hair cuts were performed with Dad’s ball trimmer. 

Glued to the daily updates as the Pandemic rolled on, first we were told no masks, then we were told masks. And then, things escalated very quickly when the B.C. government told the whole country we should be using glory holes. 

As residents scrambled to put their newfound woodworking skills to use, the mighty Athabasca spilled its banks and took out all our hardware stores. People weren’t sure if they were more upset at losing Canadian Tire or the fact that they couldn’t install the new requirement. 

The summer and fall ticked by with low numbers of Covid and many people were hopeful for the future. Businesses were open, the kids were back to school and that’s when the second wave hit. Not just any wave this time, a tsunami, placing us with some of the highest numbers per capita for Covid in the country. 

So, how does 2020 end? The same way it started: no toilet paper, the high school kids are back online, we’re not allowed to see our friends and Santa could very well be stuck at the border on Christmas Eve.  


Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!


*While I attempted to make you smile reading my column, I understand for a lot of you this year has been exceptionally tough. Please put these numbers in your phone or write them down on your whiteboards or refrigerators; Some Other Solutions: 780-743-HELP (4375), National Mental Health Line: 1-877-303-2642 and/or Kids Help Phone: Text CONNECT to 686868.