Posted in Canada, disaster, family, health, Parenting, Recommends, school, Toronto, urbandaddyblog

March Break / COVID-19 / CoronaVirus Self-Isolation To Do List


March Break plans ruined? Travel plans cancelled? Activities for the kids also cancelled? COVID-19 has you in self-isolation? Keeping your “Social Distance”? Tired of hearing the “Corona-Time” song from Tik Tok?

If you, like everyone else, are running out of ideas for things to be because everything is closed until mid-April… What could you possibly do with the kids during an extended March Break?

Here at The Urban Daddy, we have some practical suggestions to not only keep your kids entertained, but keep you engaged, while allowing the kids to get a jump on their return to school without them knowing.

Here are our suggestions:

Reconnect with the great outdoors!

Walks, bike-riding, practicing sports, and helping around the house, digging the garden, planting flowers and raking the lawn. Get to know (Reconnect with) your neighbours. Have BBQ’s, do yoga, pick up some garbage in the community… All with lots of soap, hand sanitizer and without electronics.

Electronics – More than just for games!

While I feel that my kids are already in quarantine – they come home from school, head up to their rooms, hit the electronics and show up only for dinner. While Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, Tik Tok, YouTube and Snapchat are fun, there is only such much you can do in a day, week, month, so let’s expand the use of computers beyond entertainment, and use it for educational purposes too. Have your kids learn about SEO, how to make websites, teach them to code, while you learn to code too.

The possibilities are endless.

Computers for Education

While the teacher unions here in Ontario might think that online classes are a REALLY bad idea, thankfully they’re not teaching our children, because with schools closing for anywhere from 3-5 weeks, or for the rest of the school year, we are suddenly seeing school boards heading to online classes to salvage the rest of the school year.

It only makes sense, and from what I’ve seen, some schools just needed a couple of days to move to online classes, while other schools were already ramping up.

I’m a huge fan of online classes and courses – I did my MBA online, and in this day and age, all kids should be familiar with online classes and courses not only in case of a global pandemic, but also in case they wanted to advance themselves and take extra or additional courses.

Get a jump on the eLearning train and sign yourself and your kids up for courses. My 13-year-old is currently in grade 8, but is working on his grade 9 math credit at the same time.

I’m working on some courses towards my Google certification and my Quickbooks certification.

Catch up on Family Time – Movies & Board Games

I strongly recommend family movies – stay away from movies called Outbreak, or that deal with the end of the world. Common Sense Media, is a website that rates most TV shows, movies and video games according to age appropriateness to help parents figure out what their kids should be watching.

Some of the games that we’ve played include; Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride, Monopoly, Cards Against Humanity (not with the kids!!), Rummicube, Exploding Kittens, Risk, Trivial Pursuit, Pictionary, Carcassonne, Sushi Go, Chess, Boggle, Yatzee, just to name some more recently played.

Read Books

Nothing says getting a start on learning like developing a love of reading. Reading uses our imagination, helps us to learn new words, see proper punctuation, and spend hours doing something alone.

More importantly, in the event public libraries get shut down, there are plenty of resources available in digital format too.  eBooks, eAudioBooks, Movies, Comics, Music, Magazines and Videos. All you need is a library card!

A few years ago I introduced my eldest to the series of Dan Brown books – The Da Vinci Code, Angels and Demons, Origin, The Lost Symbol, Inferno, Digital Fortress (This one you can skip, Sorry Dan), and Deception Point. I read through those books in records time and so has he. We’re looking forward to reading the newest Dan Brown book Wild Symphony.

In addition to those books, any Star Wars book has also been a wildly popular with my readers – not just the books that the movies are based off of, but all the little series and sub-series.

Spring Cleaning

Nothing says time to re-do the bedroom – change over winter clothes to spring clothes, check sizing, and re-do parts of the house than having the time to do so. If there is a pantry that you wanted to tear apart and re-organize alphabetically, this is your chance! How about cleaning up the kids playroom and donating toys they don’t use anymore? Again, now is the time.

We’re in this for the long haul, folks, so make sure you wash your hands often, keep your hands off of your face and stay away from people if you’re under the weather. Protect yourself and that will protect others.

Posted in Canada, Community, events, health, news, The Urban Daddy, Toronto

2020 Sugarbush Maple Syrup Festival Cancelled


Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA), in partnership with Credit
Valley Conservation (CVC), regrettably announce the cancellation of its upcoming 2020 Sugarbush Maple Syrup Festival and TRCA March Break activities at Black Creek Pioneer Village to proactively protect its staff, visitors, and all who would be in attendance, from the potential risk of contracting COVID-19.

The cancellation is in line with the recent announcement from Ontario’s chief medical officer of health recommending the immediate suspension of all large events and public gatherings of more than 250 people, and the World Health Organization (WHO) declaring COVID-19 a global pandemic, as well as recommendations by the Public Health Agency of Canada.

TRCA and CVC conducted a risk assessment and decided to cancel its upcoming 2020 Sugarbush Maple Syrup Festival and TRCA March Break activities at Black Creek Pioneer Village to ensure the public safety of all involved.

The 2020 Sugarbush Maple Syrup Festival and TRCA Black Creek Pioneer Village March Break activities cancellation effects the following locations and dates:
Kortright Centre for Conservation – from March 14 – April 12
Bruce’s Mill Conservation Area – from March 14 – April 12, including March Break (March 16 – 20) and Good Friday (April 10)
Terra Cotta Conservation Area – weekends (March 14 – April 5) and March Break (March 16 – 20)
Island Lake Conservation Area – March 20, 21 & 28
Black Creek Pioneer Village March Break – March 16 – 22

For further information, please visit maplesyrupfest.com and blackcreek.ca.

Posted in Canada, Coffee, Community, Daddy, disaster, events, family, Food, health, Life, money, Parenting, politics, sleep, Toronto, travel

The Sound That a Record Makes When the Needle is Dragged Across it…


If you are of a certain vintage, you know what a record is, and you have hopefully seen a record player and would then know that sound a record makes when the needle is dragged across the record.

Sccccrrreeeeccchhhhhhhh.

Then silence, as the needle is lifted off the record.

That’s the sound that the sporting world make late last night with the word that the National Basketball Association (NBA) has cancelled the rest of their season effective last night after a player from the Utah Jazz tested positive for COVID-19.

At the moment the news broke, I have to admit, I sat up and took notice. It made me realize that this Pandemic was real and that we, as global citizens, need to step up and take notice.

Shortly after that cancellation, the National Hockey League (NHL) and the National Lacrosse League (NLL) both followed suit and cancelled their seasons, although postponed is more likely the intended outcome.

Major League Soccer (MLS) is putting off games for a month.

By mid-afternoon on March 12th, 2020, the Major League Baseball (MLB) announced that they were postponing the start of the 2020 baseball season for at least a couple of weeks.

I hope that in the upcoming weeks, we can get more details about the virus, keep local people safe and keep travelers from spreading the virus. I’d make a comment about the severity of the virus but if our Prime Minister might have it (sigh) it just goes to show you that you have to be smart with your health and be careful of travelers.

I understand the fear – sort of – especially to those who are vulnerable due to age, health or underlying issues, but I don’t understand the stocking up on toilet paper. Just this afternoon, for example, I went to our local Loblaws location only to find hundreds of people in line buying toilet paper, canned soup, soda pop, and food items which do not quickly spoil such as onion.

I struck up a conversation with a couple in the line-up who had purchased 150 rolls of toilet paper, plus paper towels, cases of canned soup and a case of anti-bacterial wipes, hand sanitizer, soaps, and other such medical items.

I found out that they anticipated being quarantined into their home for a few weeks and thus needed to stock up.

I asked about the case of wipes, and sanitizer – thinking that if you’re self-quarantining in your own home and not letting people come and go, what exactly are you sanitizing?!?

With that realization, they removed the case from their cart and within seconds, it was grabbed by another family who already had a cart full of long-term supplies.

I don’t know.

I’m all for keeping my distance from people and not shaking hands, and I hope that others do the same. No more repeats of the guy sitting in the corner of McDonald’s coughing up a storm while everyone looks at him half in terror and half in wonder why he would come to a public place while sick.

He wasn’t sick.

He was choking.

I can’t wait until we can look back at this and move on back to life as we used to know it.

Posted in Canada, Daddy, disaster, events, family, Food, health, Life, The Urban Daddy, Toronto

Can’t Tell You How Much I Hate Getting Older…


Words cannot describe how much I hate getting older.

The grey hair.

The lack of hair.

The grey arm hairs… Ugh. I’m not even that old. At least I don’t feel that old.

Well, I didn’t feel that old, until this morning. This morning was a big ‘ol dose of reality check for me.

You see, up until a couple of years ago, I played competitive ball hockey in a league, as I had been doing since I was 19-years-old. That makes it around 25-years, give or take a year here and there.

Some years I played on 2 teams, some years 3-teams, and at the time when I met my wife, I was playing 4-nights a week.

Those 4 nights dwindled to 2-times per week, and then to once a week. A torn calf ended my ball hockey play and I haven’t played since. I think about playing again, but at my age, and having gained a “few” pounds paired with the fact that I’m out every evening with the kids at programs, means I just have no time.

Fast forward to November 2018, and I accepted a contact with Intuit Canada, the makers of TurboTax, to be their spokesperson, and blog editor. The job was amazing! The people were amazing. My boss was beyond amazing and the role was so much fun! The only downfall was that I literally sat at my desk for 8-hours a day. I had an hour drive to get there and an hour drive home and there was no time for exercise.

I put on a few more pounds.

I was feeling very uncomfortable.

Walking up the stairs became a chore, and I was winded when I got to the top. I knew it was time to focus back on fitness. When the kids went away to camp, was when I started exercising again. Walking on the treadmill, eventually running on the treadmill and trying to ease my fat ass back into working.

I even agreed to do a fitness class with my wife (something we have never done together) at the fitness studio that she goes to. I did a class called Chiseled. She took a different class.

The class was great, and the instructor was awesome. She was dynamic, engaging, informative and she helped me sort out the exercises and the correct techniques.

Almost 3/4’ers of the way through the circuit, I felt that I was done. Exhausted. Not that I couldn’t lift anymore, but that my heart rate was elevated, and not having had breakfast, I felt nauseous. I just needed a break.

I’ve had this feeling before when I played ball hockey and took time off due to children or injuries. The next game back was usually a tough one.

So I sat down on the chair to catch my breath.

And passed out.

When I awoke, there was a juice box in my mouth, I could hear, but not yet see, the trainer and a participant who happened to be a doctor, checking my pulse, and when I opened my eyes, and started to feel a bit better, I apologized (I’m so Canadian) and said that I over did it.

I finished the juice box, and started to regain my focus when the doctor / participant said, don’t worry, the EMT is here.

My eyes popped wide open.

Umm, you called the ambulance?

Always do, she said.

I was so embarrassed. This has never happened to me before. Ever.  UGH.

The EMT’s checked on me, and we agreed that it would be best if I could, to walk outside so they could run some tests. I walked out on my own power – now feeling almost completely back to normal, and into the ambulance.

The look on my wife’s eyes was something I will never forget. She didn’t say anything, but her eyes spoke volumes. Then she said to me, “When I said to you don’t die in the class, I was joking.”

I explained that I overdid it and having not eaten, my blood sugar must have bottomed out.

In the ambulance, they checked my blood sugar, my heart, my blood pressure, and all we fantastic.

I was totally back to normal.

I signed some papers, agreed to go visit my family doctor soon for a physical, and I ate a whole lot of humble pie.

We got into the car, drove home, and all I kept thinking was that I’m not that 20-year-old kid anymore who could play 4 games a week. I’m older, heavier, and man, do I hate getting old.

So how was your Monday?

 

Posted in Daddy, events, family, health, Life, Parenting, The Urban Daddy

Happy Birthday to The Urban Daddy Dinosaur


So today is my birthday.  I’m not normally a fan of birthdays – something about getting older, and all the unnecessary attention that it brings – but I had to share a conversation that I had with my son.

Him: “Happy birthday Dad.  What do you want for your birthday?”

Me: “Nothing, thank you.  Just lots of hugs.”

Him: “Okay.  That’s easy.  What are you going to do differently this year?”

Me: “Ummm…. I’m going to lose a pound of weight for every year old that I am.”

Him: “Won’t it be difficult trying to lose 150 pounds?”