Tuesday, June 26, 2007

...the Clampetts hit the Concrete Jungle...Day One...

So I’m wondering if this past weekend was someone’s way of giving me blog fodder ‘cause it was choc' full of stuff. We took the three older kids on a mini vacation to Montreal to soak up the French culture of our Quebec neighbours. It was a road trip - eight hours of driving across the province. I spent the earlier part of the week planning, catching up on laundry (my Favourite pastime - ha!) And perusing the internet for things to do and places to eat that would give us the whole experience. Big T booked a hotel on this site where you choose the number of "Stars" you want to pay for and they suprise you with a hotel that has a cheap room available. We got a 4-Star Sheraton room for just over a hundred dollars a which was a far cry from their $300 regular price - the reviews online were mixed but thie weekend was all about spontanaiety and I could rough it at the Sheraton right?! So what if the tiles are onlyceramic and not tumbled marble...we were ready!

The morning dawned - VERY EARLY. After last minute packing and sandwich making til after midnight we were tired. The crew packed everything in the car, got Little T settled at Pre-school reminding him that Grandpa was going to pick him up at lunch and off we went.
The day was bright and the fields we sped past were green and teeming with cows and horses enjoying an early morning breakfast of grass and sunshine. We broke out the fruit and veggies and sat back for the drive...

The first leg of the trip was to end at one of my favorite places - IKEA!! Yep, I got my fix wandering around the biggest of all big box stores. Heaven - pure bliss! I got great deal on a terracotta planter that I’m going to fill with succulents and a million ideas on how to arrange MDF laden, ready to assemble, strap it to the roof of your car and bring it home furniture. We ended by springing for the obligatory 75 cent frozen yogurt for the kids and off we were.

With five and a half hours left we also made a stop at my other favorite big box store, Chapters, (also known as Borders I think in the USA). We picked up an audio version of Tuck Everlasting to listen to while we drove. It was a good book and made me think a whole lot for a children’s novel... perhaps another blog??

As dinner time closed in we finally saw the sign - Welcome to Quebec - only it was in French! After that every sign was in French and the kids spent the last leg of the trip attempting to pronounce with reeeeally bad accents all the French words.

And then we were there. Driving down the city streets in all their glory. It felt good to be back in the concrete jungle and all its familiar sites. Overpriced parking lots to begin with. The hotel parking was ON TOP of our room rate and after picking up our little ticket we drove deep through the low ceilinged abyss of the underground lot. Four floors below the sidewalk we finally found a spot, pulled our bags out of the trunk and headed for the elevator.

The hotel was really nice... escpecially the lobby. We requested a room with a view and got one on the 28th floor. Other than the CN tower this was probably the highest building they had ever looked out. I have to admit the view was incredible and I spent a lot of time trying to take a picture of the vista only to continually take a picture of the reflection in the mirror!

We got cleaned up and wandered down to the city streets to find our first French restaurant of the weekend. That’s when reality hit me...my children are like the Country Mice. They have no sense of danger, or the meaning of street lights or crowds. They are so un-citified and think they can talk to everyone they meet. They are their dad’s children in that way. I grew up in Toronto and the energy of the city gets my heart pumping. No where else can you find such diversity in so little square feet. The business man walking purposefully, head held high in his four-thousand dollar suit ambles past the man dressed in rags, looking up from a step, coffee cup in his hand, waiting for a dime. The students in their artsy clothes and trendy hair stand around as if this is their backyard and in a way it is. The women, out on the town, dressed up and adorned with jewellery and perfume walk up the street beside old man, walking with a cane down the familiar street he has traversed for almost seventy years. People, everywhere, some with a place to go, some still looking.

I love to watch them sweep their eyes across the unfamiliar view. To see it for the first time. To know how different their little world really is.
By the time we pulled the covers over our shoulders and tried to settle the troops it was after eleven and the weekend had only just begun.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

...when life gets in the way of blogging...

On the camera phone coming out of anesthetic!

Well, ya... that is my excuse for not typing here for almost a month. Not great when my initial goal was to write everyday. The perfectionist in me wants to write an inspired post every time and sometimes in the midst of running after a pre-schooler who has escaped onto the road yet again and trying to educate 3 often unwilling students inspiration is lacking. So, I'm going to forgo the clever excuses and keep writing - not because I have inspiration or even because anyone is reading but because I made that commitment to myself and its a good one to keep.

...and so to sum up the last month of bloglessness we have been enjoying the beautiful weather that has come to our neck of the woods...

We have opened the pool, fertilized the grass, mowed a few times, stained a fence and 2 decks (almost!), tidied the yard and attacked the weeds. We have also spent much time in the hospital since "Pickle" started off the season by breaking the two bones in her forearm... Big T and the older kids were at his baseball game when Pickle fell off the monkey bars she was hanging upside-down on. She came wandering up nonchalantly to the ball diamond and asked one of the girls if her arm was supposed to look like "that". And by "that" she meant bent in a horribly wrong way between the wrist and elbow... She soon found out that no, they were not meant to look that way and a long night in the emergency room was in order.

You know you live in a small town when the doctor has to call her husband a few too many times on his cellphone so that he can leave his post-soccer game to come administer the anathesic to our daughter. Around midnight she finally tracked him down and he came in. Not long afterwards she was fitted with a beautiful green cast.

The next week she had to go to a larger city nearby to see the orthopedic surgeon who removed the cute green cast that was set just below her elbow with a boring white one that is set just below her underarm.

We remedied the white cast with a blanket of colourful sharpies but she still is not happy that she cant move her arm for 6-8 weeks.

Also... our cat Emmy had kittens. They are soo cute! Cats take 9 weeks to gestate. That is wonderful knowledge if you know when she um...had relations with the neighbour cat - but if you just sent her outside because of her incessant meowing you might not recall that date exactly... you will be able to make an educated guess by the size of her growing belly and the discontent that she seemed to be feeling the day of. The evening of actually. She was meowing and complaining and hunting for a spot to birth - even though I had made a nice one. Then, just after dinner she crouched down in the hallway and made a horrible noise. Cookie starts yelling, "Mom. the cats limping, she hurt her leg!!" I counter that her leg is fine but she must be about to have the kittens. I yell for my farm boy husband to come and gently carry her to the box. He respond to the cries by scooping her up before she heads downstairs and as he is heading for the box out drops kitten number one... momma proceeds to stop in the hall to clean her up while Big T proceeds to record the icky goodness with our camera's video tool... I wont post that here. But a few hours later she had given birth to three mini-Emmys and a black kitty and a tabby kitty who obviously look like their dad... One cream baby has died but the other ones are almost a week old and growing and getting cuter by the day.

Other than that - life has been uneventful... just the way we like it!!