Masked Mall Rats

Things seem to start going back to normal. Thanks to the ongoing vaccination program, COVID-19 cases have significantly gone down, at least what the government statistics say. (But hey, props to them. Give credit to whom credit is due.) So in the past weeks we’ve been seeing traffic volume building up—not that we’re happy about it. Businesses are opening again one after the other. And people flock to the malls once more. Us included.

Done!

Two weeks after Marcus finally got his second COVID-19 vaccine we packed ourselves in the car and headed to the destination we once frequent before the pandemic hit. With a wee bit of anxiety, we set foot on Festival Mall’s ground, almost two years after. All three of us in the mall just like the good old days.

Our own T-Party.

The mall no longer requires contact tracing forms to be completed upon entry but restaurants maintain their own policy for precautions. Yellow Cab for one allows only fully vaccinated customers to dine in— the cashier did check our vaccination cards. Activities inside the mall are close to pre-pandemic days with difference of masked mall rats and the ubiquitous social distancing signages. We agree it’s an inconvenience but this is the new norm so let’s deal with it.

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What makes yesterday more special? Taylor Swift’s birthday! Among the things we did in common at home during the quarantine period—and continues to this day—is karaoke with Marcus on weekends. Early days during start of social distancing and isolation Marcus grew fond of singing and big chunk of his repertoire are Taylor’s songs—then some BTS and couple of rock, to indulge wifey and me, respectively. He’s still working on the tunes but it’s been fun all the time. I even learned—or forced myself—to dance while he sings. Good way to burn midnight snack.

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Except for Saturday, two days this long weekend we skipped the karaoke. Sunday was finale of the F1 2021 season where we saw ourselves screaming especially when Max Verstappen stopped the championship streak of Lewis Hamilton on the last lap of the Abu Dhabi race. It’s been a long while since F1 was this exciting. Actually both drivers deserve the title but this time we were rooting for Max who is now the first ever Dutch F1 driver champion.

Then last night, coming from the mall and powdered by Starbucks Americano I found myself glued watching Taylor Swift’s Fearless video on Blu Ray. Interestingly, we realized that Blu Ray is a technology that is no longer supported even by major appliances stores but thankfully Xbox still plays it.

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Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Cold kettlebell workout)

100th Video…With Voice

For a couple of years already Marcus has maintained his own Youtube channel. Called 11 AM Guy, his channel houses videos he personally created which are mostly about his favorite games and lyrics videos of Taylor Swift songs. He’s a big fan.

Today, over lunch, he introduced to us his 100th video since he started the channel in 2018. With his recent rate of uploads, 100 videos was just bound to happen this year so what really surprised us was in this latest video, he talks. He recorded his voice for the very first time.

https://youtu.be/n1qAaB096Tw

Like any other first times, the voice over could definitely be better, however, what’s remarkable here is that Marcus was able to control his stutter on the recording. In this past months Marcus has been stuttering more and more–one of the signs of DMD progression–so I was listening closely if it’s going to be evident. There were some wheezing but nothing very significant. Good job son! We are proud.

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Coincidentally, today is the 7th day after I had Marcus’ Youtube channel logo tattooed on my left arm. As expected the scabs are starting to fall off and overall the tattoo is healing nicely. Only issue is that I had it placed to cover an area that itches and sheds skin a lot–I suspect it’s psoriasis, no thanks to Google self-examination. First couple of days my hopes are up that the head will hold but as the first week approaches the ink was obviously fading away. I can live with that but I need another tattoo design soon.

Day one

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Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Long weekend is bliss)