Adventures in Vancouver (With a Cantankerous Grandmother who doesn’t like Vancouver.)

So I’ve got a sweet new office and junk, that I was planning on posting pictures of – but frankly I’m not even done unpacking from the move. So instead you get pictures of my recent trip to Vancouver. And by recent I mean June (have I mentioned how busy I am?) Actually recent was a rather spur of the moment trip to see Josh for some much needed time together – awesome! Photos of that soon, but first Vancouver because that’s chronological order for you.

Usually all my vacation days are saved up to visit Josh, but this was a quick five-day getaway (including a weekend, thus requiring only a whopping three days off) for a low-key family wedding and a chance to hang out with some of my hipper relatives. Plus I’d never been before. Toronto and Vancouver each like to think they’re way cooler than the other (*cough* Team Toronto! *cough*), but really they’re just different in a million little ways and your preference will depend on which vibe you like better. I’ve heard them referred to as the New York and San Fransisco of Canada, which isn’t really all that apt – but you get the idea. Either way, any Canadian worth their salt (or other seasonings?) should at least try to see as much of the country as possible – it’s rather pretty you know. So off I went.

I have to admit that the shitty weather combined with sharing a hotel suite with a cantankerous grandmother added up for a less than impressive first couple of days. But eventually I got to check out some very nifty places including the Vancouver Aquarium, Van Dusen Gardens, and Shannon Falls.  For a short trip, I managed to cram in a lot of activities.

Photies!

First up was the Vancouver Aquarium with my uncle and grandmother, a day before my aunt arrived. It was of course eighteen different flavours of awesome and fun. But we didn’t get to stay very long, because although Grandma joined us for the scenic drive up, she stubbornly refused to pay or have anyone pay for her the $17 seniors fare that she deemed absolutely outrageous, and anyways it was too much walking. So we spent two hours seeing as much as we could before feeling the pangs of elderly abandonment guilt while she perused the gift shop for over priced souvenirs for the younger cousins. To be fair, she probably had more fun there than she would have had inside, surrounded by strange looking things.

Sculpture outside the entrance. I get it Vancouver, you REALLY dig whales.

Coming to get you!

You thought of the turtle from Finding Nemo. You know you did, and you did the voice too.

Cayman are scary!

I don't know what this is, but it's exceedingly orange.

I don't know what this is either but I'm pretty sure it's flashing me.

Octopi!

Jellyfish!

Next up! Van Dusen Gardens, a completely gorgeous collection of rare and expertly cultivated plants, a shrubbery maze (a shrubbery!), ponds, ancient trees and enough oxygen and chlorophyll to leave me feeling very zen and peaceful, which by that point was very much needed.

We all went first for the wedding, you see (of which I have no photos as my camera had by then sucked through multiple pairs of batteries.) It was a very simple and elegant outdoor ceremony followed by a traditional Chinese eleven-course seafood dinner – which Grandma had initially looked forward to, being a lobster lover and all, but was then promptly disappointed because everything tasted “too Chinese.” The fact that her grandson had married a Chinese woman may or may not have dawned on her, although she adored the girl and got along fabulously with her family (small blessings, we count them.)

The next day we all decided to go back to the gardens to see the areas we had missed and linger in the foliage. Except Grandma. She didn’t want to walk that much, didn’t want us to walk slow for her because that “wouldn’t be fun for you young people,” and was absolutely offended at the idea of renting a wheelchair for when/if she got tired. This is the same lady who rides her bike for an hour every day, mind you. Besides, having traveled all the way to the west coast for a wedding (by five day train, because no way was she flying for five whole hours) there was now nothing more important than catching that second-last episode of this seasons Bachelorette. So yes, a trip to a very calming garden was very much in order.

My aunt and uncle and the awesome garden entrance.

These are Ginkgo trees, which have apparently been around since the Jurassic period and nearly went extinct before being cultivated back into widespread existence by Buddhist monks. The next pic is a closer shot.

Brachiosaurus food.

Ducklings! We spent twenty minutes watching them swim between the lily pads, climb up on them, get too close to the edge and plop back into the water.

Water lily.

Scrabble alert! Sequoia is the only seven-letter word containing all five vowels. They are also huge and very old, having been here since before the shift of the continents.

Trilliums! Go Ontario!

I forget what these are called, but they will eat monkeys.

More prehistoric ginormous plants. These have giant spikes on the underside.

My aunt loves English gardens.

Random Nuit Blanche style art installation in the middle of the gardens.

We couldn't decide if these were truly red poppies, which are apparently illegal to grow.

Norwegian poppies. Not illegal.

Lastly was a trip to Shannon Falls to see the natural glacier run off and dip our feet in freezing cold crystal clear ice water and climb over boulders and wet mossy rocks in totally-not-hiking-appropriate shoes. I still say my gold flats were perfectly fine for climbing.

That's a lot of water! Glacier runoff, actually, so it apparently slows down a bit towards the end of the summer when the melting is done.

This was insanely cold.

Climbing back up from the water.

The scenic drive back down the mountains.

Foxgloves - pretty, but deadly.

And my feet are still painfully cold.

So, guess who stayed at the hotel? Yep. That scenic drive you see there was far too nerve wracking for a little old lady who will attack home-invading wildlife with shovels, squirrels with slingshots, and will threaten tele-banking branch managers with physical violence and make waitresses cry.

Oh Grandma. We love her dearly, but wouldn’t exactly describe her as conducive to a peaceful or even remotely calm experience. Grandma’s the one to call if you want a mouthy neighbourhood brat bitched off your lawn, or a particularly profane round of Bingo, and for that and her fierce familial protection we do indeed cherish her. Just don’t try to take her anywhere else.

Except the Mandarin. She loves a Mandarin buffet like nobodies business. You see the irony, yes?

**************************************

The next day I was back on a plane and back in Toronto, and the following morning I was back in the torrential clusterfuck that is moving an office. Accomplished successfully (pics to follow, eventually), we’re still rearranging furniture and getting my work area to my liking. As stressful as the job is, it is kind of nice to have a management team that says “Your office needs more colour and artwork, we’ll get on that. And that shelf is ugly, we’ll get a better one.”

Added bonus: trying to cut back on overtime pay, they asked if I would be willing to accept time-and-a-half lieu time in exchange for coming in on moving weekend (which I had begged them to let me work through, not so much for the overtime but preferring not to deal with a ton of shit on a Monday morning.) I said I certainly would accept lieu time, and as soon as the move was done I planned a last-minute trip to visit Josh. I only had to use up four vacation days – and my quarterly bonus covered my expenses! Woot timing!

You know what that means – more pictures to post and another visit to plan very, very soon!

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Happy Not-So-New Year

Have you noticed winter kicks my ass much? As soon as the temperature drops, my brain seems to freeze along with the pipes, and it becomes a struggle just to roll my unmotivated and generally winter-blah’d self off the futon first thing in the morning. It’s dark when I get up, it’s dark when I get off work; it’s cold, slushy, and all around miserable. Fuck winter, man. Fuck it.

The only good thing about winter so far was that I flew south to spend Christmas with Josh. Unfortunately, that merriment ended as soon as my return flight touched down in Buffalo – in the middle of a blizzard. But wait, it gets better.

One delayed hour on the frozen tarmac later, I shoved my way past throngs of snowbirding elderly (who should NOT be allowed to travel with ‘carry-ons’ they can’t lift out of the overhead compartments without assistance), ELEVEN people blocking the aisles waiting for wheelchairs, three screaming toddlers and a fat guy with a cat. My luggage took even longer. I was also starving, having only brought ten dollars for travel-food without realizing that a 9am airport breakfast of yogurt and O.J. would cost eight bucks (you’d think I’d have this figured out by now, it being my third trip), or that all the delays would bring me well past 4pm before I could get to a bank machine. Said bank machine promptly rejected my card. Turns out the last machine I had used before my vacation was of the sketchy variety, and my card had been frozen as protection against card copying fraud. In retrospect, I’m quite grateful – but try telling that to me when I’m starving, tired, and pissed.

Good thing my mom was there to pick me up, or I might have kicked something and broken toes again. She had agreed to drive me to/from Buffalo since it’s loads cheaper to fly within the U.S. than across the Can-Am border. It’s also not that long of a drive, and we’ve got fun family along the way, so she was happy to oblige. She’s also got better luck with technology – her bank card worked just fine, so off we left with a few extra bucks and the intent of stopping for a quick bite to eat before hitting the border.

And then we got outside. Ohhhh, the outside.

I’m not going to describe the outside. But it looked something like this:

static snowstorm

got snow?

And sounded something like this:

What exit do we take? Nine, nine, the map says nine. Yeah, but where is nine? I don’t know, I can hardly see anything! Oh my god, it’s getting worse! This isn’t safe, we need to pull over! I can’t see the road! There is no over to pull to! Just watch the signs, can you see them!? I’ll lean my head out the window – ack, blargh, spit, cough! – I think that’s exit…three! Exit three! So we still have…crap, a long ass way to go. Shit, this is a total white out, I can’t even see the car in front of me! From now on trips to Buffalo are only for good weather! This is so not safe, this is SO! NOT! SAFE! I think that’s a truck up there, careful. Is that a truck? I think that’s a truck. Oh fuck, that’s a truck! It’s on it’s side, it’s flipped! Swerve, swerve!!!! AHHHHHH!!!!

Soooo, yeah. That sucked. By the time I got home and into bed I was already counting down until my next vacation.

On the plus side, Southwest Airlines gave me a spiffy credit for the whole ordeal, enough to cover a flight! Totally worth the hassle, I’d say, especially since within-US flights not around Christmas are pretty reasonably priced, so as soon as I’ve got time saved up at work again I’m getting my ass back on a plane.

In the meantime, here’s some highlights from the holidays:

kiss love woot!

Lovin' up on my man.

manly construction

Josh being manly with his tools. Haha. Tools.

dogs rage against the removal of the carpet

The dogs were less than thrilled with the decision to reno out the carpeting.

dog wood flooring

New wood floors are confusing!

rad kitchen friends

Visiting rad friends in their rad kitchen

the puppy and the boyfriend

Not our puppy 😦

hockey night in...NC

My dad sent a Leafs jersey down as a Christmas gift - woot!

Scrapbook

Josh took me out to choose a scrapbook for our photos...

scrapbook

...and even helped me put it together!

cute shirts much?

I got us matching paw-holding otter shirts! (Which other than this one photo op, will not be worn simultaneously - because there's cute and then there's revolting.)

What’s the deal with the otter shirts? I saw them on icanhascheezburger as a shirt-of-the-day just before I left Toronto and HAD to have them. So I bought them on the spot and had them shipped down to us to arrive just before Christmas as a surprise! Why otters? Because Josh had sent me this video a while earlier to make me smile:

Delicious

Where the hell have I been?

No seriously, if you know, please raise your hands, because it seems like days and weeks have gone by with me standing here going “wait, what?”

I’ve been super busy, once again. I figured I should probably fix up the spare room in my apartment given that I’d nailed up a bunch of wood and left the cardboard tile ceiling a little on the saggy side. I shanghied a handy pair of friends into helping me last weekend and then tagged along on their trip to the Junction Arts Festival for honey-and-lavender ice cream, random fridge art and copious amounts of bureks and perogies. Every Saturday I’ve been at May’s for knitting and pie (one hideous cardigan finished, one super cute hoodie about halfway there!), there’s been a trip to Niagara for Talea’s wedding plans, dinners with family and a ton of baking for corporate client events. Oh yeah, and I’ve got a boyfriend to spend with too! Josh has been busy building an extra room onto his brothers house with him (today: stairs) so I try to line up my free time with his as often as I can. I haven’t even had time to do grocery shopping – and I do my groceries online! It’s been sad amounts of takeout this past week for me.

There’s been zero time for blogging, or even time for structured thought on anything I’d like to blog about. So what do I do when I don’t have time to type? I post pictures. Much, much less time consuming.

Since I haven’t had time for groceries, I thought it would be good to remind myself that yes, at times, I have consumed real food. In that spirit, here are some pictures of me eating whilst on my not-so-recent vacation – have I mentioned I’m already in dire need of another? Also included are pictures of me about to eat, having just eaten, or generally in the midst of an eating type environment. You can’t visit the south without taking a bite, and Josh and I do love our delicious meal times.

Obsoive!

Eating it up at the almost-in-laws

Eating it up at the almost-in-laws

 

My southern man frying up some plantains for breakfast

My southern man frying up some plantains for breakfast

French toast? Or maybe Quebecois toast...

French toast? Or maybe Quebecois toast...

Mmm, breakfast! With a side of white trash bra.

Mmm, breakfast! With a side of white trash bra.

Out for Japanese on our date night <3

Out for Japanese on our date night ❤

Edamame! I don't think Josh had seen them before. I have two kinds in my freezer.

Edamame! I don't think Josh had seen them before. I have two kinds in my freezer.

We rode from dinner to the movies - even though it was in the same plaza.

We rode from dinner to the movies - even though it was in the same plaza.

Bean dip!

Bean dip!

Mmmmm ^_^

Mmmmm ^_^

Doin’ Toad

So what do you say to someone you love when you haven’t seen them in a year?

Well, a lot of things. “I love you,” of course, along with “I missed you,” and “I can’t believe it’s been a whole year!” Eventually, you say things like “So where do you want to eat?”, “Nap or tv?”, and “Dude, there’s no way they can send that car over the fucking mountains!” (It was a Mythbusters marathon.)

When your vacation is less about exotic destinations and more about relishing the everyday, you find yourself at Target saying things like “I guess camo just isn’t in this year, babe” and “Seriously, I hate thong sandals! Why aren’t there any normal sandals for men?!?”

Thong sandals. Josh fucking hates them.

 

One thing you definitely wouldn’t expect would be to say “Get the fuck away from me!” However, I did in fact utter those or at least similar words about two thirds of the way through our visit.

I had a good reason though:

No seriously, he's like this in real life.

No seriously, he's like this in real life.

 

I didn’t want to get warts!

Can you get warts from licking a toad? I mean, he didn’t just pretend to lick it or barely touch it with the tip of his tongue. I know right there it looks like he’s faking and only licking his thumb, but trust me, he full on licked the toad. In fact, there was enough tongue-to-toad direct contact to realize that toads aren’t just slimey, they’re dirty. He spat for about a full minute trying to get the dirt and grit off his tongue before drowning the taste with beer.

*insert American beer joke here*

Then what does he do? Tries to kiss me.

Oh hells no! I don’t want your warts, get away! I squirmed and wriggled and refused to let him kiss me, loudly proclaiming “It’s okay, my best friend is engaged to a doctor! I need to check with him first!” There was no way I was going to end up coming back and having to explain “Oh these? No, no, it’s not herpes. It’s actually far more ridiculous. My boyfriend licked a toad.”

Naturally, he thought I was hilarious and took great delight in occasionally leaning over for a smooch and seeing how close he could get before I remembered that he was covered in toady, toady gross. You’d think I wouldn’t forget, seeing that it had *just* happened. Right, did I mention I was also drinking beer? He got pretty close a couple of times. Plus, he’s my man after all – it’s not easy not kissing him!

Eventually, though, my beer ran out. And so I did what any miffed girlfriend does – I grabbed his.

Mid-swig, the smirk on his face caught my attention.

“Darlin’?” he says.

“What?” I snip back.

“Now tell me, how is that any different from kissing me?”

“….”

*smirk*

“….   ….   …..Well, fuck.”

After a raucous round of pointing and laughing, I grumbled “Oh fine, go brush your teeth.”

So…as it turns out, you can’t get warts in your mouth from licking a toad. Or maybe you can and we just didn’t. Or at least I didn’t, and Josh hasn’t mentioned anything to me about any toad-related regrets other than a mouthful of dirt. But I was seriously grossed out, and wouldn’t kiss him anymore until after he brushed his teeth. For once, his habit of brushing about seven times a day came in handy.

Still, if our kids turn out like this, I won’t be held responsible.

 313KTJ96WYL__AA280_

‘Twas Ladies Night

If you were wondering what other exciting activities occurred during my trip to see Josh in North Carolina, there are plenty of tales for me to share. Not all of them are 18+ rated of course, but this one is.

Suffice it to say I ended up getting smacked in the crotch, but that’s for later.

I know I’ve mentioned my almost-in-laws before, but Josh’s sister-in-law Sami is pretty awesome. She’s itty bitty and packs a punch, and was all over a girls night out during my stay. So what do two bad ass ladies do on a bad ass evening? Go to the strip club, naturally.

To be honest though, I can’t really say “naturally” because as rad as we are, this was a rather new experience for both of us. Sami had never been to such an establishment. I’ve been several times, but only ever sat in the VIP room with a group of suave shady characters more interested in beverages and business than the ladies, poking fun at the B-list and waiting for the lights to go on to see who won an assortment of age related bets. (I kept some interesting company in my early twenties.) Either way, the idea of sitting right up front with no experienced posse was a new one. So maybe we were just the slightest bit nervous. But hello, what are vacations for? So off we went.

Firstly, before we set out for the night there was the task of selecting our venue. There is no Yonge Street to go between the Brass Rail and Zanzibar, or waiting cabs for a trip somewhere else. And with booze *obviously* on the menu, we wouldn’t be hopping about. We needed to find one place for our adventure, and we needed to find the right place. A place that was nice (but not too nice), and down with unaccompanied ladies. Apparently there are places where women are not allowed without male company. Also crucial was finding one that wouldn’t leave our respective men worrying about their unaccompanied ladies and what sort of attention they might receive from rather rough crowds.

This was not a job for the new girl and the new in town girl, and so we assigned our men the work of calling up their buddies for consult. I don’t know how much ‘work’ it was, really – picking out a strip club for your girl must be at least somewhat hot. And so it didn’t take long for them to come up with Pure Gold, in the next town over.

For this we needed Irwin, a somewhat stunted GPS with a bad habit of announcing turns after they’d been past. But we got there and managed to figure out the parking lot. It was wedged sort of under and next to a few other establishments of the more daytime variety, all with their own parking. The only spaces available to us was the valet parking, five bucks. Except since the spaces were literally right next to the door, all you really had to do was give the guy in the vest a fiver for the privelege of not letting him touch your vehicle.

However, as an amusing interlude, he did announce that it was his duty to inquire as to whether we were there as guests or applicants. Between surprised snorts, we managed to tell him that no, we were not there for jobs. But thanks. We parked and went in, paid the cover, found a seat and sat down.

Did I mention it was a Thursday at about 7pm?

It was very quiet, obviously without the regulars who would filter in as the evening went on, and for about half an hour we sat awkwardly sipping our mimosas. We had our fistfulls of bills ready to go, but it seemed the dancers were less interested in dancing and more interested in morosely leaning against things. We decided it was the first night out for many of these ladies and so sat back in our chairs to wait for someone a little more interesting.

I don’t know how many of you ladies out there frequent these establishments, but if you do I’m sure you know that we for the most part aren’t there for the same reason as a male attendee (except for maybe the squat lesbian in the corner who liked the chubby ones). You see, I’m not impressed by big jiggly boobies – I have them too. I can walk in heels and lean on railings and wiggle about in a skirt. What I can’t do is support my own weight around a pole or kick higher than my head. That’s impressive.

A few more drinks later and everything was far more entertaining. The A-squad started showing up in twos, with one girl in front and another featured in the background. That’s when Blue came out, a fantastically built lady with dark skin, big tattoos, and even bigger hair. She totally ruled, and before I could blink was not just up the pole but hanging from the scaffolding in the ceiling.

I don’t know if the standard reaction to a stripper is “Wow! Come here! Can I give you money?” but she was amused and let me give her a cute smack on the bottom along with my dollaz. She was an instant favourite, and the rest of the night was spent comparing everyone else. When I got back to my seat after giving some attention to the other ladies, Blue was there again to thank us for the tips. We fawned over her hair and skills, and she promised to come out again later.

At this point my drink was distressingly low. Naturally, the lady walking around giving out body shots had perfect timing. We decided body shots were fun – a quick dance with a drink at the end! Getting a test tube out from bra strapped cleavage is a fun endeavour and always a surprise as to what fun girly flavour your drink is going to be. Yes, it would be a fun night after all, and from then on we freely tucked bills into gstrings and waitress trays alike.

We didn’t want to spend too much on the alcohol given that Sami had to drive us back and also because more booze meant less thong-dollaz. So after a few more dancers we decided to get one last body shot. The last dancer had been a buxom asian girl with cute bobbed hair and lashes for days, and she had spent a fair amount of time in our general vicinity. When she came over after her dance to thank us, I asked her if she did body shots, but she didn’t. She did, however, do lapdances.

Apparently some ladies are more rowdy than others, and this is how I ended up getting smacked in the crotch by an overplayful stripper who couldn’t possibly have known that I’d left the Nair on just a liiiiiittle too long that afternoon. It’s also how I ended up with boob on my face while Sami had a good laugh at what I’m sure was my hilariously mortified expression. 

Well then.

Carrying on, we got to see Blue work her aerobic feats again while I ordered one last drink to lessen the sting. I thought it might be a good idea to take out a little more cash for a few more minutes, but the eight dollar service charge at the ATM quickly discouraged me. That and we didn’t want to stay out too late, it being a week night and all. Plus Sami agreed to wake up early the next morning to drive Josh and I to the radio show, so a relatively early night suited us just fine.

We made our exit a while later, right about the time the girls stopped dancing and just stood all together in a crowd on the stage. We weren’t sure what the purpose was, if were just supposed to buy one of them or something, so we made a quick trip to the ladies room before making our giggly exit.

Sami was fine to drive but I wasn’t much more help than the befuddled GPS on the way home. We got turned around a few times in a town that neither of us knew before getting back on the right highway. The men were still up waiting for us when we got back in, and we stayed up a bit longer drinking beer and exchanging tales of our evenings.

Eventually, tired after an eventful night, we all wandered off to our beds. Of course I had to explain to Josh why I was a little on the fragile side…

50's House Wife Wig - photo

You see honey, it started with this one stripper...

Celebrate Good Times!

Ok, I know you’ve all been just dying for some vacation details, so at long last, here we go! This will be one of many installments of our adventures.

It makes sense to start at the beginning, which in fact was way back in April – when we picked the general timeframe for my visit and I started the months long scrambling to get all the details sorted out. I had the paperwork to get my passport already printed off and ready for fine-comb scrutiny. It probably took about three attempts at filling in all the little boxes and squares and ‘this only applies to you if you were born at this spot before this date’ spaces before I was certain it could be brought in for government inspection without meeting instant rejection for having a signature go outside the lines. When it came time to choose which government line to brave for a morning, I chose a location far from the centre of the city. Less popular, less people, less lining up, less chance of me snapping at someone who controls where I’m allowed to travel.

It went off without a hitch, and within another few weeks I had my passport. My SUPER regimented, no glasses, no smiling, no frowning, no expression whatsoever passport. I look like a disaffected yuppie and it cost me $8. And that was just for the pictures, nevermind the little blue folded book itself.

Next came picking the dates for flights and hotels, trying to maximize our alloted vacation time between weekends and matters-of-convenience for getting myself to the necessary airports. As soon as the dates were picked, the tickets purchased and the hotel reserved, it was just a matter of waiting. Shopping, and waiting.

FINALLY June rolled around. The last two weeks crawled and dragged by until one morning I strolled into work with a bright smile on my face. I made no bones about announcing my state of mind to the world at large: “People, I am not here today. Technically I am not here tomorrow, as I will be on a plane to visit my boyfriend in warm climates for the first time in one year. But rest assured, I am not here today either. Is the coffee machine broken? My good sir, I do not care.”

The next morning my mother picked me up for the drive to Buffalo, as it was $100 cheaper to cross the border in a car instead of flying directly out of Toronto. The navigation was a bit rough. Next time I’ll get the directions myself instead of leaving it up to her to leave up to her boyfriend to leave to the last minute resulting in no more than a poorly printed map and handwritten, somewhat incorrect instructions. However, we got there. And after connecting issue-free in Detroit, I got there.

There is here

Josh’s brother Nate drove him to the airport to pick me up, and dropped us off at the hotel where Josh had checked in earlier. In we rolled with our luggage, up the elevator, down the hall, and, well I’ll leave it at that for at least a few hours 😉
We hadn’t stopped to eat dinner, so later that evening I was starving. I figured we could go to a bar or restaurant, but anything nearby was closed by ten. Even with the scooter Josh had already brought to the hotel, the closest source of food was the SuperWalmart. We decided on a late night junk food/grocery shopping spree. I’m not usually a big fan of Walmart or its inhabitants, but I figure when in Rome…(or the South…)
It's ok, Talea was at the gym...

It's ok, Talea was at the gym...

The next morning, or maybe the following morning (I may have lost track of time…), I asked Josh to take me to Ihop for breakfast. He agreed, but was disappointed to learn that it’s somewhat of a misnomer. The “international” house of pancakes is at most a “national” house unless they have them in Mexico – we sure don’t have them in Canada, or at least not that I’ve seen. I in fact did not have pancakes, which I have not been able to stomach since a rather disastrous event with plane food many moons ago. Nor did I get waffles, which I’m told would have been an acceptable substitute. I got a strawberry crepe, which was damn good. I also had a lovely eyeful of Ihop patronage, and the new knowledge that some folk do in fact eat fried chicken for breakfast and encourage their kids to do the same.
yeah...

yeah...

Our breakfast was followed by much in the way of napping (sort of), to fill the hour or so one is supposed to wait before post-eating aquatic adventures. Yes, the hotel had a pool. But between the hot sun and the small family taking up most of the water, we opted to stay indoors. The pool was small, and it wasn’t so much about there being a crowd as there being just one family – we weren’t really in the mood for inevitable tourist small talk. Luckily, there were recreational activities to be found inside as well. 

This photo took approximately 37 takes.

Word, they had a jacuzzi!

We also went out to dinner at the Outback (which I think we do have in Canada, but I haven’t been in a while), and clothes shopping at Target. It may seem mundane to spend a vacation going to Walmart and Target, but we never get to do these little every day things together. Getting to spend an hour trying on shorts and lamenting the lack of non-thong sandals for men is a rare opportunity!

Alas, the weekend could not last forever, and we only stayed at the hotel for a few days. So after 60 some odd hours of our shagedelic fest of sugar, saunas and shopping, we packed up our bags and waited for our ride to Nate and Sami’s house to stay with them for the rest of our vacation. The first thing we did all together was head on over to their parents house for a family dinner with what I like to refer to as my ‘almost in-laws’. They love to take pictures at any and all opportunity, flattering or not…

Thought bubble says "Hey what are you - "

Thought bubble says "Hey what are you - "

Photobombed, and still adorable

Photobombed, and still adorable

And of course, we took plenty of pictures ourselves.

Totally worth the wait!

Totally worth the wait!

That’s all for this first installment, the adventures continue soon! Coming up next, we’ve got killer dogs, date night, strippers, licking (not to be confused with stripper licking), and other fun.

Stay tuned!

A Triumphant Return

Word up my internet peeps!

You will rarely catch me in as good a mood as I am right now, so soak it all in while you can. I am back from my vacation, refreshed, relaxed, loved up, and ready to tackle the rest of the year until Josh and I can be together full time. Last year’s vacation had too many chunks of time cut away by his work schedule, and the travelling part of it was horrendous. He also had a court date the day after my return, and none of the legal shit had been sorted out yet – our future, while undoubtedly involving each other, was filled with uncertainty, obstacles, and plans kept in limbo by forces beyond our control. It was all a little scary, and next to impossible to will myself back on the bus to go home.

This year was different. With no more court to take up sick days, he had the full week off to spend time with me. Ten solid days of loving, sleeping, eating, singing, visiting, shopping, laughing, cooking, kissing, dancing, drinking, wii-ing, and just generally being. A proper vacation. Even when it came time to leave, I was still feeling great.

The next steps to getting together are slowly forming a solid groundwork – talking to lawyers, looking at colleges, setting loose dates and vague to-do lists. Nothing is set in stone yet, of course. But on the way back to the airport, I was feeling alright. Instead of last years dread, anxiety, and futile resentment towards space, time, and other human beings, this year I was nothing short of psyched. Instead of thoughts of “How long until we see each other again?” and “What’s going to happen next?” it was more like “Ok, I’m going to go get things ready up in Canada with the paperwork and the research and the phone calls, and I’ll see you soon! Like for reals this time! Holy crap, woot!”

So yes, I would say it was a good vacation. And with ten days of “What do you want to do today Napolean?” (although I never got around to actually saying that, but now I really wish I had), there was much in the way of fun and adventure. You’ll be regaled with tales for weeks to come, and pictures of course. But for now, while my fridge is still empty and my bags still unpacked, here are some brief highlights:

– Late night grocery shopping at Walmart!

– Confederate flag bikinis and hot tubs!

– We went on the radio! Details and clips coming soon!

– Great adventures in American dining establishments and their patrons!

– Saw the Hangover! Go see it! Now!

– 2 a.m. weight lifting contest (Josh totally won!)

– Strippers!

– Copious amounts of junk food!

– Vikings and dragons from space!

– Licking inappropriate objects! Surprise, it’s not the strippers!

 All that and more, but right now I’m starving because I spent last night getting piss drunk with Talea and didn’t get groceries. It was totally worth it.

Tick…Tick…Tick…

It’s starting to hit me. Our vacation is almost here.

Don’t get me wrong, June is still sucking so far. The morons are worming their way out of the woodwork faster than I can squish them appropriately and diplomatically deal with them. At the office, on the train, out on the street. Tourist season is upon us and nobody will get the hell out of my way. I still want to knock a few people down. But it just dawned on me last night that in less than one week I’ll be on my way to the airport.

Holy crap.

I have so much to do! I’ve been so busy just trying to keep my head on straight and not walk in front of an oncoming bus that I haven’t actually sat down and, oh, for example – packed. I have bags of new clothes littered about the place, a new suitcase full of paper stuffing and packing tape from whence it came at the mall, and thats pretty much it. New bra? Still at the store, waiting to be tried on thirteen million ways. New tiles to put down so my landlords don’t have to venture into my bedroom? Still mostly in the box. I did manage to rearrange the apartment to my greater liking, but now I’ve got more crap to throw out, and yet more tiles to put down where furniture used to be. Also, I still have to get the um…waxing…done.

OH DEAR GOD ALMIGHTY, DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT THEY DO TO YOU???

Yeah, I’m a little bit scared about that part, but I’ll suck it up.

I also have to go get travel insurance. I’m going to the states, after all. I don’t want to have to pay for a broken arm with a leg. (And of course, if you don’t get insurance, you’ll get hit by a bus, because thats how it works.) It’s not expensive, and only takes five minutes of your time at the bank, but really? When the hell did I start having to worry about insurance?

So I’m spinning around in circles right now just trying to remember everything I have to remember. I couldn’t find a decent clip or even pic on the internet, but does anyone remember that episode of the Simpsons where there’s a fire drill at the power plant? And one guy in the background just kind of panics, running in a circle going “fire, fire, fire, fire, fire, fire, fire, fire…”? I kind of feel like that – trying so hard to keep track of everything I have to do that I’m not actually getting anything done. I haven’t even dyed my hair! Honestly, this skunk stripe is getting ridiculous.

And as for Josh? I haven’t seen him for more than a half hour here and there late at night for about a week now. We’ll be staying at his brother and sister-in-law’s place (who I like to call my almost-in-laws, have I mentioned how awesome these kids are? I heart them) and they’re converting the car-port into a spare room. Red tape abounded for so long that they only recently got the go ahead to start building, and so they’re busting ass just about round the clock to get it done. The time apart iss rough on Josh and I, being so used to spending most of almost every evening together, but it’ll be worth it once I get down there. Poor Josh is seriously going to need this vacation after all that work!

At least he has time off from his job this year. He had to work through the week during our last vacation, so it’ll be more than awesome to actually get to spend so much time together. And unfathomably, after how long it took to get here, it’s now just days away. I’ll just have to not bite my nails down to nothing in the meantime while watching the clock!

Hurry up or I'll get the hammer!

Hurry up or I'll get the hammer!

Almost there….almost there…

Sweet, Sweet Change of Plans

Okay everyone, remember how I told you to bitchslap your computers? We’re changing course – start knocking on every variety of wood you can find (short of injuring male loved ones for the sake of double entendre). Feel free to use pressed fiberboard, paneling, and exes.

The internet…waaaaaaaaiiiit forrrrrrr iiiiiiit…is back!

Jack

I have a new modem. It’s spiffy and shiney and new. And somehow, through a miraculous alignment of the cosmos (angry fist shake) I managed to get it up and running. It’s supposed to take ten minutes. It took me two hours, and I didn’t even have any problems. It was just very…involved. Vista shines here, with the constant approving of every goddamned step, and having to restart every time some new aspect gets installed (such as the piles of anti-virus – oh internet, why are you so dangerous?). Download this executable file, launch said executable file, install feature, loading, loading, loading. It was just a meticulous, pissy little process that had me sitting on the edge of my seat all night.

But finally, finally, I have the internet.

Wireless internet!!!!

Me! Technologically stunted and maimed, I somehow figured out how to appease the digital deities and actually got my wireless working. I’m not covered in cables! I can sweep my floor without meticulously unplugging, draping, carefully arranging (or just ignoring it and nibbling my lip over the bad-housekeeper guilt). I don’t trip over things at 2am when that last bottle of juice announces itself as a poorly timed idea!

It.

Is.

Fan.

Tastic.

Now let’s not get carried away. This month, overall, is still sucking the big one. Work is a pain in the ass, and every douchebag and their ugly sister seem out to get me. They’re filming underbudgeted movies on my block and cluttering up the traffic. Starbucks has discontinued the only vegetarian breakfast sandwhich. Josh is hard at work both on the job and getting some renovations done around his brothers house for my visit, so between that and the rest of life we’re often pressed for time. I’ve promised May that I won’t use Limewire, and so I’m dying without my instant fixes and guilty pleasures. I still don’t have tiles on half the floor, and my futon is becoming lumpier by the day. Also, neither tax nor bonus season were as kind to me as I’ve grown accustomed. Boourns.

But this, I will celebrate. This one teeny, tiny technological victory, as brief as I realize it could be, I will take it and run with it.

thumbs_up

Thumbs up internet, I’m back in your grill. Now let’s finish suckerpunching the rest of this shitty month and get on with my damn vacation, alright?

Alright.

Leaving on a Jet Plane, Suckers!

As you may recall, Josh and I celebrated our one-year anniversary of dating on March 11th. Unfortunately, the cosmos conspired against us to mark the occasion with frustration and general technological fuck-uppery as opposed to flowery romance. In fact, we have still yet to exchange our cute little love-projects. This displeases me greatly. I’m generally speaking more the kind of gal who appreciates a good trip to the liquor and/or candy store (please, somebody combine the two!) or a night in cuddling on the couch to celebrate such occasions, rather than the whole dinner and flowers shebang. But even that’s hard to do when you’re 800 miles apart and the damn sentient videophone picks the worst days of the week to frankly, fuck with your shit.

Fine then universe, you want to play that game? Do you? Oh yeah? Well you may have screwed up March 11th, but there’s another significant date coming up very shortly. I won’t tell you what date specifically for fear you’ll mess that up too, but the general time frame is mid-June.

Last June, after having been madly in love for some time already, Josh and I finally met face-to-face. And yes, it was awesome. And yes, it was very difficult to leave. It still blows my mind to think back and go ‘holy shit, that was a year ago!’ One year! What the hell???

Unfortunately, that also means it’s been about a year since we’ve gotten some good and proper bedroom action. Too much info? Well, sorry. If you’ve been following along here, you know Josh and I live far apart – so in terms of sexy times, there’s really only one logical conclusion: it’s hard to get some from across the room never mind across the border. This will not do! Poor Josh! Poor me! If you haven’t been following along and this happens to be your first glance at this page…well, now you know.

So in light of the gods-of-tech being general wankers as of late, I’d really rather not leave this particular upcoming anniversary to chance. I’m getting on a damn plane and getting my ass down there. That’s right, it’s vacation time again! One whole year! It’s time, people.

(may not be flying on this actual plane)

(may not be flying on this actual plane)

Wooooo!!!!! Naturally, there will be many more exciting details to share as we get closer to the date, like accomodations, places to go, people to see, and etc. After last years adventure with failing luggage, I think the first thing I’m going to do is buy myself a nice pink manhandling-resistance suitcase, and maybe a matching dress.

Look out America, I’m coming to get you! Or at least one of you 😉