Wednesday, July 29, 2020

With the white noise of an air conditioner keeping our bedroom hospitable for human life, we plowed into another day, one packed with weirdness and chocolate – the best ingredients for a quality Tuesday. Highlights included the arrival of our first king-size mattress for the bedroom we hope to create downstairs, and the inevitable screeching of Rosa, our canine research assistant and quirk-stocked French bulldog, while the movers scooted the mattress into place. My vacation began at 4:30 yesterday afternoon, as I seek to put off the government-mandated return to the petri dish of downtown. Which will leave me with way too much time to devote to stuff like this:

National Waterpark Day

With the sun relentlessly flexing its muscle above us all day yesterday, it would have been an ideal time to take a trip to a waterpark. That said, the only waterpark in this city is located indoors, a logical choice for financial reasons, though it renders the summer sun moot. We used to have a place called Wild Waters just west of the city (where my wife and I separately suffered the worst sunburns we’d ever experienced, years before we knew each other), but given that most years only present this city with a week or two of superlative summer heat, that business model was doomed from the start.

But back to our lone indoor waterpark. It’s closed due to Covid right now, so we can only celebrate this one from afar. Pictured above is our version of a ‘waterpark’, which features numerous jets, and the temperature cranked down to as chilled as it can get. I tend to alternate between roasting in the hammock and cooling off with a drink in the “pool”, while Jodie likes to spend most of her time in the water. We also have a miniature version for our dogs to enjoy.

The World Waterpark at West Edmonton Mall will be eclipsed in size (and dethroned from its reign as the largest in North America) when the Dreamworks Water Park opens in New Jersey. This one was also financed by Triple 5, the goofballs who built and operate our mall. It should have opened back in March, but… y’know.

Our Waterpark has a massive wave pool with eight panels spewing waves into the 12.5-million-litre pool. There are four more panels that have been unused for years, because with all twelve running there were wilder waves and more injuries. Kind of a shame it all closed before the age of Youtube, I guess.

So with no actual waterpark to go to, we made do with what we had.

Take Your Houseplants For A Walk Day

There’s really nothing to add here. The day is meant for people to interact with their neighbours and compare growing tips and various successes and failures with different houseplants. Or simply to celebrate the concept of houseplants, as though if we didn’t they might simply shrivel up and rot.

But this celebration comes with a very specific description, and it’s right in the title. We didn’t feel the need to explore the concept of houseplants any deeper; we simply took ours for a quick sojourn down the block and let our neighbours think of us what they will. And I’m sure they did.

Though I’m sure it paled in comparison to the next thing we did:

Take Your Pants For A Walk Day

Again, the subversive idea here is for people to get out and walk, assuming their pants will naturally come with them. Unfortunately, this was poorly-timed, as it topped out at 32 degrees yesterday. Not a day for wearing pants. So I popped on my shorts and wandered out to take my pants for a walk, along with my plant.

The source material on this one (National Day Calendar, who may or may not need to check the ventilation in their offices to ensure proper oxygen flow) says “There are many jokes and cartoon drawings about putting your pants on a leash and actually walking them as you would your pet…” They’re trying to be funny here, I get it. But there’s no way anyone has… actually, never mind. I found nine. That’s unusually impressive for a holiday I’d bet no one I’ve ever met has ever heard of until now.

I took my pants for a quick walk before taking our dogs around the block. It was also before my first alcoholic beverage of the day, so I was hoping the beverage would erase my memory of these weird experiences. Fortunately they are now enshrined forever on this page. Yay.

Buffalo Soldiers Day

My only experience learning about Buffalo Soldiers was in a partially-informative Bob Marley song. This was never taught in school – though honestly, very little if any American history was taught in school. Every year we learned the dull story about how a department store owned most of Canada in the 19th century, but nothing about the atrocities of American slavery.

The Buffalo Soldiers were America’s first peace-time all-black regiment, having been formed in 1866, primarily for helping out with those pesky Native Americans who were trying to spoil the whitening-up of the American land. These soldiers had either been plucked from Africa for slavery or were descended from folks who had suffered that fate, yet they still suited up and served for their country. They were a decorated bunch, building roads, escorting mail delivery, and taking up arms in the Spanish-American War.

These were some of the finest soldiers in the nation, but naturally they had to endure a bunch of shit from the rest of the armed forces. On multiple occasions the Buffalo Soldiers were attacked by their fellow military who objected to the melanin in their skin. And to be clear, even the higher-ups used them as pawns, for shock value when confronting Indian tribes or to take the brunt of wartime violence.

Today is a day to honour these troops, and to examine the systemic idiocy that kept them suppressed and confined to a little corner of military history. Also, if the mood strikes, to crank up some Bob Marley.

World Nature Conservation Day

So what did you do for nature conservation yesterday? We attempted to emit a zero carbon footprint, mostly by not leaving the house and therefore not using any fossil fuels. I suppose running this computer, our AC and a couple of fans probably negated this attempt, but hey, we made an attempt.

There are a number of days throughout the year meant to call attention to our fragile planet and to encourage us to make some effort to preserve it. Our efforts are ongoing: we plan on developing a garden in the back yard to grow our own veggies. We recycle already, but with Edmonton rolling out a new waste initiative including composting, we also plan on jumping on board that train as well. We turn off lights when we leave a room. We also support companies who make an effort to give a crap about the globe.

Climate change is a background story this year for the first time in a while, though it’s the same knuckleheads denying the need for masks who also yammer on about how climate change is a hoax. This has led to moronic views becoming espoused in political rhetoric, and to the online bullying of a 16-year-old girl whose only concern is the health of our planet.

Don’t listen to those pests, and if you happen to be one of those pests, don’t listen to yourself. Nature needs our help, and we don’t have the luxury of doing nothing just in case that Youtube video about how climate change is a George Soros-funded sham might be true. Listen to the science. Take care of this planet.

National Milk Chocolate Day

If you add milk to chocolate, it creates milk chocolate! I feel I’ve learned so much today!

There isn’t much to say about this day. It was a deliciously visceral celebration. The milk chocolate pictured above was brought immediately to our air-conditioned bedroom so that we could enjoy it without fear of it melting into a little puddle before reaching our mouths. Well, my mouth. Jodie is a fan of the dark chocolate, so she didn’t indulge in this one. That’s fine, more for me.

For some reason – and no one’s talking, as it’s an industry secret – Hershey’s milk chocolate has a flavour that makes it distinct from any other milk chocolate on the planet, and that particular flavour hits a winning chord with American taste buds. The stuff we had came from Cadbury, who is the leading milk chocolate producer in the UK. Since Canadian confectionary borrows from both titans of junk food, we grew up knowing both. And loving both.

It’s hard to lose on a chocolate day.

Vacation begins! And it begins with a few quick postponements:

  • National Lasagna Day. We’ve got a recipe we are dying to make, but it’s going to have to wait until the weather chills out a bit before we crank up the oven.
  • National Lipstick Day. Can Jodie celebrate this? Does she even own lipstick? Find out tomorrow!
  • National Chicken Wing Day. Our beloved Cajun diner makes the hugest, tastiest chicken wings in town, but they are closed on Wednesdays. We’ll get to this one, I promise.
  • International Tiger Day. A day to celebrate gorgeous cats, a weird reality show, and orange-and-licorice ice cream.
  • National Cheese Sacrifice Purchase Day. I guess we’re supposed to… sacrifice some cheese?
  • Rain Day. Probably not around here, but then you never know.

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