I see that it’s been 12 days since I last blogged. Here is my effort at retrieving the stories from my dusty brain.
Bicycles, Basketball, and Hellman’s
Sunday, the 10th was a beautifully warm day and I told the kids that after church we’d go for a bike ride and a picnic. Just the preparations for this little outing seemed to take longer than they should have. There were problems (like bike seats that were too high which our neighbor, Pascal, helped us to solve). There was a 15-minute phone call from a woman who really needed an ear (meanwhile the kids were hungry and chomping at the bit). There were problems with chains on bikes that had not been ridden since September (and I blackened up both my hands but was successful in the end). But we did eventually leave, heading first to the grocery store to get a few things for our picnic. Joel’s bike started making a terrible noise about the time we arrived at the store, but I blew it off.
We grabbed our staples and started on our way to the park (on foot for a bit as everyone and his uncle was out walking on this day), anxious to eat lunch. I believe it was nearing 2:30 at this point. The big boys took off then, and Joel and I made our way at our own pace (remember, he’s only been on two wheels for a couple weeks) when all of a sudden Joel stopped. He wasn’t able to push his pedals. I tried, same result. It just wouldn’t move. I examined the bike. Looked to me like the chain needed oil, but I’m no expert. I certainly didn’t have any bicycle chain oil in my backpack, but I thought about what I did have. I had Hellman’s Dijonnaise. That’s made with oil, right? Yep, sure enough, soybean oil is the fourth ingredient. Meanwhile Joel was having a heart attack about the possibility that there’d be no more riding. I squirted the Hellman’s all over the chain hoping no passersby would notice. The chain still wouldn’t budge so we continued walking to the park. When we arrived, we explained to Sam and Jack what happened. Jack hopped on the bike, hoping to help us out, and the thing worked.
In the end, it was a fabulous afternoon. We ate our sandwiches, we played a lot of basketball, Joel rode his bike all over the courts, and we gloried in the warmth of the sun and each other’s company.Mark Came Home…
Tuesday, the 12th in the wee hours of the morning. And we were glad to see him! Everyone woke up for at least enough time to say, “Hi Dad!” I woke up enough to get my blabber-mouth a goin’ and wouldn’t let the poor guy get some rest as I yakked on an on as if I hadn’t seen or talked to him in a year.
Mark rested up from his trip and then got back to work. And I started preparing for my own departure to Wolfville, Nova Scotia, for Peter and Nakita’s wedding. In there somewhere was laundry, grocery shopping, a haircut for me, black-jacket hunting, meal preps, and one day of babysitting a friend’s boy.
Peter and Nakita asked me some time over Christmas if I’d photograph their wedding. Just like one forgets the pain of childbirth, I forgot my feelings about my last wedding and agreed to do it.
We took these engagement pictures on a beautiful Saturday morning in January.
I rented a car and left Quebec City on Friday morning, supplied with plenty of podcasts, an audio book, and food. The trip was 12 hours so I worked out a little strategy that I believed would help me get through those long hours alone. I try to eat about 1200 calories per day, so I figured that if I ate a 100-calorie snack on the hour, every hour, that time would move along quickly and I would not succumb to the mindless eating that sometimes takes place on long road trips. I had a cooler filled with apples, clementines, almonds, tuna, chicken salad, yogurt, and carrots. So with that eating plan, and my mp3 player, I arrived in Wolfville around 9:00 p.m. It was an A+ idea.
I started working Saturday morning at 9:30 by taking pictures of the bridal party getting their hair done at the salon and the rest of the day flew by! I mostly loved meeting all the family members and watching them interact with one another and hearing their stories. My favorite people were Nakita’s grandma and grandpa. They were just lovely. There were also other friends there from Quebec City that I knew and so enjoyed the reception sitting with them and eating the best wedding feast I’ve ever had—it helped that I was starving and had pretty much been on my feet all day.
Meanwhile Back at the Ranch
The little boys got sick with bad colds and Mark wore his doctor’s hat all weekend. Jack woke up at 3:00 in the morning not able to breathe because of all the congestion. He and Mark walked around the cul-de-sac trying to get the cold air to open up his passages. After a hot shower and some tea, he settled down, but Mark was ready to take him to the hospital! They missed school on Monday, but seem to be better today. It’s Mark who is on his back as I write this.
Mark said, “You are so close to Halifax. When are you going to get another chance to see the city?” So Sunday morning I drove to Halifax. The first thing I did was go to church, one I had found online the night before. I don’t believe I’ve ever said of a worship service that there was too much enthusiasm or emotion involved for my liking, but I felt that on this Sunday morning. I was a little out of my comfort zone, that’s for sure. I left there and went on to find my hotel in the rain. In fact, it rained the entire rest of the day. Exploring was out of the question for me, plus I was quite tired from the day before. I ran in the wind and rain to a little burrito place a couple blocks from the hotel, ran back to the hotel with my warm burrito tucked under my coat, and enjoyed a tasty late lunch. I napped a little, watched TV, worked out in the hotel gym, and read. It was pretty much a bad decision to go on to Halifax as I could have done any one of those activities at home, and I missed my family. I held out hope that the morning would bring sunshine. And there was sunshine. After a workout and shower I headed out to see the city. I was out for about 10 minutes and took a picture or two when the rain started again! That was the message I needed. I was not supposed to see this gorgeous place on my own. I went back to the hotel, packed up my stuff and headed west.
The trip home seemed longer (even though it was a mere 10 hours instead of 12!) and more tedious. It was probably because I didn’t have my cooler filled with awesome food. I pulled up in our driveway around 8:00 p.m., happy and tired.
And here we are at the end of my tales! Have a good day!