What I Miss Most from the Pandemic – Pandemic Punch

A year ago, I wrote an article about things I was looking forward to, as we came out of the COVID pandemic. However, one year on, there are some elements of the pandemic I look back fondly on. I never thought I’d say it, but here are some things I miss from the COVID era:

Full-Time Work from Home

The company I work for has this insane idea that people actually want to come into work. That doesn’t jive with the opinions of anyone I’ve ever spoken to on the subject, so I’m curious as to who they’re polling to come to this result. We worked from home for close to two years straight, without issues, and all of a sudden we’re required to be back in the office. Even if it’s only a couple times a week, it seems asinine that this is the thought process.

Work From Home

Empty Roads and Easy Drives

I’m sure I’m not the only one to notice the roads getting busier and busier the further we get removed from COVID. Long gone are the days where you felt you were living in a post-apocalyptic world, roaming the streets and sidewalks feeling like you were among the last people alive. I’m glad things are returning to a level of normalcy, but it was nice to not deal with rush hour and traffic clogs for a time.

Not Having to Go Out All the Time

Mrs. Sip – and her like-minded friends – strive to fill every waking moment of our lives. During COVID, though, that power was taken away from Mrs. Sip and her cronies, and us gents appreciated the downtime. Meeting for drinks and a chat online had its issues too, but at least no one had to worry about being a designated driver or trying to find a place to crash if they indulged too much.

Empty Attractions

As much as I enjoyed not having to be out all the time, with young kids, we couldn’t just hunker down at home and shun the outside world. For their physical and social benefit, as well as our own mental health, we had to step out on occasion. It was nice that kid’s entertainment facilities and theme parks, for example, were practically vacated, as many people seemed hesitant to go out.

Pandemic Parenting

Reservations Required

Mrs. Sip and I definitely enjoyed that some places that normally wouldn’t take reservations (restaurants, attractions, etc.), now were forced to accept them, so they could work within health guidelines. This was so much better than not knowing how long it would take to get into a place, especially with kids who are easily frustrated with waits. Hell, who isn’t annoyed with an unexpected or even expected wait.

Cheap Hotels

It’s hard to believe there was a time where hotels were desperate for visitors and prices were reasonable as a result, along with other perks, such as free parking. Now, hotel prices have skyrocketed across the board, as places look to recoup money lost during the pandemic. If you can get a decent rate, you’re likely dealing with no cleaning service during the duration of your stay, as places cheap out under the guise of not contaminating your room.

Pandemic Punch

Pandemic Punch

  • 5 oz White Wine
  • Top with Lemonade
  • Splash of Lemon-Lime Soda
  • Lemon Slices and Frozen Berries

Now, some would argue we’re still in the pandemic, perhaps falsely secure in the eye of the storm, but I’d say we have to start moving on sometime. While I miss the items listed above, of course I don’t wish to return to such uncertain times and health concerns caused by the pandemic.

What I Missed Most During the Pandemic – COVID-Ninetini

As the light at the end of the tunnel approaches and we begin our long-awaited return to normalcy, I spent some time reflecting on what I missed most during the last 15 months of pandemia. In no particular order, here’s what the Sip Advisor is craving:

Beer/Cocktail Events

Mrs. Sip and I love a good booze bash, going to many throughout each year. I can’t wait for a few festivals to start dotting the calendar again. Some I eagerly await returning are Battle of the Brews in Surrey and Caskival events at Vancouver’s Craft Beer Market.

Sports

To start seeing live audiences at games again almost brings a tear to my eye and highlights how much the atmosphere has been missed as leagues forged ahead in empty arenas and stadiums. Boy Sip, born right as the pandemic was taking effect around the globe, has yet to see a live game, while his older sister had been to a handful of hockey and soccer games well before she could even walk.

Crowds

Movies

We didn’t go to many movies after having children, but we managed to get to the odd film here and there. I’ve also found that with theatrical releases on hold, the offerings on streaming services have suffered in quality and quantity. Typically, each week, I would find a bevvy of new items to add to our watch lists, but those additions have dwindled as the pandemic has crawled along.

Seeing Friends

While it was nice for a time to focus inward on family, especially with a newborn and toddler, nobody wants to spend THAT much time with your home unit! Seriously, though, I feel some periphery friendships have suffered irreparable harm with not being able to keep in contact over this extended time.

Concerts

Mrs. Sip and I had began going to concerts more regularly leading up to the pandemic, seeing acts from our younger years (Bush, Stone Temple Pilots), as well as before our time (Tom Petty, Lynyrd Skynyrd). Seeing who was coming to town was something I was quite enjoying and I was working my way through a bucket list of sorts of groups/musicians I wanted to see.

Concerts

Comedy Shows

Much like with the concerts, I always had on my radar which comedians were coming through Vancouver and its surrounding suburbs. Now that clubs are able to start booking acts again, I’ve already identified a show or two which we will try to be at.

Travelling

From simple trips across the border and within our own province, to crossing oceans and continents, Mrs. Sip and I definitely felt the sting of a year without travel. As tourism within our province opens up again, we already have two upcoming vacays to look forward to and even more in the early planning stages.

COVID-Ninetini

COVID-Ninetini

  • 1.5 oz Vanilla Vodka
  • 1 oz Coconut Rum
  • Splash of Pineapple Juice
  • Garnish with a Mask

What have you missed throughout the state of emergency? On the flip side, there are many things I will happily bid adieu to as we return to normal life. Among them, I will definitely not miss people using the pandemic as an excuse for behaviour they were known for before COVID-19. Also, I can’t wait for a day where the words pandemic and COVID-19 are no longer part of our daily language and conversations.

Sip Trips #184: Getting Back to Normal

We’re slowly returning to normal here and around the world, as awkward as things still are. The Sip Family hit the ground running this past weekend, with a variety of activities, but first, here’s how we survived the latter portion of self-isolation during the pandemic:

Trips to breweries, wineries and liquor stores helped with getting out of the house and gathering supplies for all the time spent cooped up. Among the items we picked up was the All Together IPA from ABC Brewing (a beer that was made around the world, in support of hospitality professionals); a couple bottles of pink Pinot Gris from Chaberton Winery; and Rosés from Monster Vineyards and Dirty Laundry Vineyards, found at BC Liquor Stores. We also joined ABC Brewing for a round of online trivia one night, which tested our brain functions and also made us feel part of a community again.

Pub Trivia

As some of the orders we’ve been living by were set to be lifted, Mrs. Sip visited 33 Acres Brewing, where she picked up packs of their Sunshine French Blanche and Fluffy Cloud IPA. A later stop into a BC Liquor Store by me, netted tall can four-packs of Cannery Okanagan Daze Apricot & Pinot Gris Wheat Ale and Russell Peach & Apricot Hefeweizen. So, to put it lightly, we’ve been well set for most of this very interesting time in our lives.

Last Friday, we emerged from our cocoon, enjoying our first date night since Baby Sip 2.0 was born, by attending Rick Bronson’s House of Comedy in New West, with feature comic, Dino Archie. We were offered free tickets to the show, thanks to being members of the venue’s mailing list, with the place operating at 25 per cent of its normal seating capacity. We really enjoyed the performance, although it felt taboo to be out and about with strangers. We also noticed interactions between comedians and the audience were more awkward than usual, as if people forgot how to converse with each other. While there, Mrs. Sip had a Cucumber Mint Mojito and I had the Sick Burn (El Tequileno Reposado, St. George Green Chili Vodka, Lime Juice, Agave Syrup), which was very good. We also split an order of their Mac & Cheese Bites.

The next day, we had a reservation for Backyard Vineyards in Langley, which was practicing social distancing outdoors, with picnic tables well spaced out. We ordered a couple bottles of wine, including their Rosé and Pinot Gris, accompanied by two charcuterie platters. It was a very nice setting, as Toddler Sip could play, while everyone else was able to relax a little.

Wine Kids

The weekend wrapped up with us meeting friends at Frankie G’s Pub in the Queensborough area. It was great to be at a bar again, the first for Baby Sip, at two months old. By comparison, the original (OG) Baby Sip was at a bar two weeks after her birth. My meal of the Frankie G’s Burger – which was delicious – was paired with a couple Bomber Park Life Passion Fruit Ales.

So, after our first weekend out in months, I would say it will take some time to feel at ease with attending events, dining out and getting together with friends. I think people that have really shut themselves off from the world will struggle quite a bit in getting back to their normal routines and having an understanding for those that are already there. Respect should be applied in all situations. If you’re ready, and based on the advice of the Provincial Health Officer, you should be able to do these things without feeling bad. Same goes for those that would rather not. So long as people aren’t trying to push their agendas on others, we can all get along.