Sunday, September 30, 2007

Mixed Bag

This morning after sleeping in (til 9:30!) Marc suggested we get in the car and drive to Kingston for lunch and to visit the little art store we used to frequent (Cornerstone for those of you with knowledge of Kingston - a couple of doors down from Lone Star.)

At 9:37 this seemed feasible, reasonable even. Desptie it being a 2 hour drive. I think we both needed out of the house, suffering a little from disillusionement on being HOME.

Factor in our slower than usual prep time (we achieve shocking levels of sheer length of prep time - no clue how we keep outdoing ourselves) and by the time we headed out the door it was 11:20. After some discussion in the car we decided Kingston was a little too ambitious (4 hours in the car return, Stu had some homework...) and thought, okay, maybe Brockville. It's on the St-Lawrence, is reputed to have a pretty main street, is an hour or so closer.

Consulted Betty, Marc's girlfriend (His Garmin GPS system) and headed off. Until I got the bright idea to go to Merrickville, which is on the Rideau River - we'd been there for our 1st wedding anniversary (a few short days before Marc's first trip to Luxembourg, which resulted in him coming home thinking there was a chance he would work there - in a few years, and then was gone within 2 months - but I digress).

For once one of my bright ideas wasn't a flop (or worse).

Given that it's off smaller roads it took us as long I think to get to as it would have taken us to get to Brockville, but when we arrived we realized it was one of those open-house, studio weekends for all the local artisans and the place was packed, but we found parking and had an awesome (simple) lunch at an outdoor terraced cafe (I so have to learn how to do accents on a Mac - we've had one for 3 years, I have no good excuses left!). It was a little grey and overcast - which is why if you see pictures of today Julia she will be wearing rubber boots, she got funky ones a week or so ago and uses any excuse to wear them.

We wandered a bit around town, visited some cute stores, caught a couple of glass blowing expositions, bought a heavenly lavender and herb scented cadle (it's not the prettiest thing to look at, but it smells awesome) and by the time we were back to the ice cream parlour it was sunny and beautiful so we had to indulge the kids (because otherwise we would never have eaten any - no sir!)

We ended the afternoon visiting the Blockhouse at the lock in town that was built in 1832-33 to protect us from invasions from the south - but after the war of 1812 it was never really needed and only housed militia twice. Because it was closing time (4 pm) the curator (?? it's now a museum) took us behind the counter and showed us the "dungeon" - a trap door that opened up onto stairs leading to the cellar where they stored the gunpowder. Creepy enough to impress the Stu - and stick with him enough that he tried to open a similar door inthe floor in the metalsmith (oldest in Canada they claim) we vistied on our way out of town (thankfuly that didn't turn into a whole story on it's own.)

It was a nice sunny family afternoon, fall breeze blowing, a tiny puppy (a She-Poo?? Whatever that is, it was tiny and cute) called Chloe who we ran into all over town and gave the kids licks - you know, just plain nice day, no workmen, no mucky house, no homework, minimal whining (Either the kids have bought my whole "dentist installed this special device" or I am starting to believe my own white lies and stopped hearing them).

And then we came home.

The whining began on the way home. Julia passed out, but we got off the 416 to take the "scenic route" back into Ottawa and stopped to buy some corn at a raodside stall. They also had other stuff and I got a basket of huge tomatos and asked Stu if he wanted the green beans. Now, green beans are the only vegetable, save cherry tomatos, that my son has ever asked for. He didn't know what they were called and we had a few mishaps in Lux over what it was he wanted (NOT snow peas, even though he said they were flat, and not peas, even though he said they had peas inside them.)

Well apparently green beans are no longer where it's at because he was indignant when I suggested getting some. I got them anyways and he cried all the way across the parking lot to the car. You'd have thought I'd said they were his rations for the week (as I write said beans are washed and trimmed and waiting to be blanched in the morning so I can freeze them - since there is no way he's eating them this week).

We also stopped at the Loeb (24 hour! We have a 24 hour grocery store!!) and Marc dashed in with Stu to pick up something for dinner. Because we had nought besides the corn (by the way, the corn was delicious. 3 cobs delicious - it was supposed to be 2 but then Stu opted out of his second... couldn't see it go to waste). Anyhow - Marc and Stu came out with pizzas (fresh) and we headed home.

At this point we realize we have DVDs to go back to the video store (next to the Loeb) and that we still haven't started Stu's homework yet. So Marc preheats the over, throws in the pizzas, tells me they take 15-20 to cook and leaves with Julia for the video store, leaving me, Stu and his homework upstairs.

After about 7 minutes I smell smoke - sure enough the bottom pizza is charred on the bottom (we missed the "middle rack" and "on a baking dish" portion of the instructions.)

Long story short? Fire detectorgoes off, open windows and doors, thinking the cat has run out the front door in terror, running around on front lawn calling cat (only to find her under our bed - which is of course the logical place to look). Call Marc to ask him to pick up new pizza for kids. Take my eye off the other (which is at least on the middle shelf of the oven) for the 47 seconds it takes to reply to a message on facebook and update my status ("Tracy is not at patient as she thought she was, Grade One homework with the Stu is doing her in." and lo and behold - I've charred the second pizza.

Call Marc back to ask for another pizza for us (he gets out of line...) and somewhow the evening got back to normal. Well kinda. And once Marc had made me his version of a Blue Lagoon. (loving those drinks where you can't taste the alcohol).

By the way - Catherine, if you are reading, we need to reopen our discussion on becoming testers for Garmin. The North American version says "Take H,W,Y 416 to..." Not HIGHWAY. Nope, H.W.Y. We laughed so hard the first time we heard it but it's wearing thin...

And so here we are at the end of another weekend... bracing for impact of the week ahead.


Anonymous said...

Hi Tracy, it's really strange to think of you in Canada!!! I don't miss the 24hour groceries, but the convenience sure is nice. We are still amazed that the hardware store (let's be generous and call it that) closes at 2pm on Saturday!!! You're out of luck if you need anything on a Saturday afternoon - and of course the stores are not open on Sun! Enjoy Canada!! Cheers! Catherine

Cathie said...

I LOVE Merrickville!! It's so quaint and artsy. And I LOVE the studio tours they have in Ontario (never heard of one occurring in Alberta). They should have one in Kingston next weekend as I believe it's always the Thanksgiving weekend but I may be wrong. It's very cool as they have a country road route from house to house and some of them even greet you with a mug of hot apple cider. Yummm. As for accents on your Mac, change your keyboard. I mean internally, of course. On my Mac it's located in the top right hand corner, by your spotlight icon. There should be a little flag there to indicate what your keyboard is. For accents you need US International. Or French Canadian, but that's too complicated for me. The US one uses the Qwerty keyboard and for accents you just have to hit a certain key and then the letter you want accented. I can never remember which one is called grave and which is acute. Good luck!

P.S. I'm so jealous about the fresh corn. I just bought a couple ears in Cactus last week and I'm sure it was weeks old, wrapped in plastic and imported from Spain. But, with a nice steak and lots of butter it tasted pretty good!

Anonymous said...

OK, Of course I thought that I should have made a comment about the corn after I read your blog the first time... but now I HAVE to say something. Although there are still lots of corn in the fields around here, much of it has been cropped (cut? shorn? - whatever - I'm NOT a country girl) BUT there are no corn stands here. No sirree. All the corn must be for the cows. I miss the corn stands!!! Bon appetit!!! Catherine

lapoflux said...

Sorry to torment you ladies, but it was AWESOME corn. I had forgotten how good corn can be - I think you're right Catherine, they seem to grow all the stuff over there for the animals. We used to say we were going to steal some ears from up the road (yes! Corn growing in Luxembourg city! A few fields of it) but i am glad we never did.
You're not the only one who thinks it's strange that I am in Canada - I keep having one of those Talking Heads moments "this is not my beautiful life -this is not my beautiful car..." etc. Just plain weird.
As for the whoel 24 hour grocery store - I figure if my insomnia kicks in really bad I can go get groceries in the middle of the night. good luck with getting used to German closing hours (at least you have good wine and beer??)

Cathie said...

You're right about the corn being for the animals. And it's different than 'human' corn. The first time Myles was in Germany, while he was in the infantry, they were playing war games out in some field for several days and got hungry. So they decided to take advantage of the corn they were hiding in. They boiled it and boiled it - for hours! - and it never did become edible. According to my father-in-law half the corn grown in Ontario is cattle corn. Which as you know is the main reason Ontario beef is not as good as Alberta beef. Just had to throw that in :-)