28 May, 2009

I Guess They're Not All Bad

When I turned 18, a very well-meaning acquaintance planned a surprise party for me. Firstly, I don't like surprises at the best of times. Secondly, my brother and his girlfriend-at-the-time had promised to take me out for fancy supper the same night and my Mom had just made me a new skirt and I was excited. Well we were getting ready to walk out the door and two of my school friends showed up. I tried to explain that I couldn't leave with them because I had supper plans. Alas, that was when the Restaurant Ruse fell apart. I changed my skirt and in their cruelty, my friends blindfolded me for the ride to the park where the party was happening.

The good news about the party was that I got a lot of nice presents and after the barbecue part was over, I went with a few of my closest school friends over to one of their houses to watch videos and hang out. The bad news is that said well-meaning acquaintance jumped on planning the party before my best friend got a chance to and ended up inviting a rather large number of people that I wasn't even really friends with, including some I hardly talked to at all. Also, a couple of friends had traveled from out of town to be there and I hardly got a chance to talk to them. Eventually, they felt so ignored by the party-planner and a few other people who were supposed to be their friends that they left...and I wished I could've gone with them.

Well, this time, my sneaky Mom fabricated a pretty fool-proof plan right under my nose! The weekend after we got here, we went out to my parents' place for five days (long weekend in Canada plus LJ's certification exam). My best friend, Chandra, and I had planned to go out for a coffee date on Saturday morning (to Starbucks! Sans toddler!). I had seen Mom peeling potatoes before I left but just assumed she was planning either to have company or that the five of us were going to eat some mass quantity of potato salad for lunch on Sunday. Apparently, as soon as I left, Mom put LJ to work peeling, slicing, and chopping up stuff for salads for Sunday evening.

On Sunday afternoon, Chandra invited me over basically to do nothing which sounded just fine with me. I got going late because I didn't hear my alarm go off after naptime and most of the time I was over at her place I was in a groggy nap-induced stupor. We DID go out for ice cream though and one very tasty, albeit regrettably large, milkshake.

I didn't end up putting two-and-two together very well until we both left Chandra's place (she was “supposedly” going over to her parents' for supper). Her parents live in the same end of town as mine but we both took a different way to get there. I was baffled when I saw her take a route that really didn't go anywhere near the right street and thought she must've been taking some weird scenic route. Then I got to my parents' street and there were cars everywhere. So on top of being late for supper, I had to park in the driveway. Argh! As I was getting out of the car, Chandra walks up the driveway asking for the jacket she forgot in the car the day before. The following conversation ensued:

B: Uh, I hung your jacket up in your front closet. You watched me hang it there and you even commented....
C: Oh, yeah, uh, duh. I just spazzed for a minute there. Oh hey, let's go in your front door.
B: (baffled because wasn't she supposed to be going somewhere for supper?) Uh, we never use our front door.
C: So? It's been ages since I've gone in that way.
B: Okay......so, why is your parent's car parked in front of my house?
C: What? Is that my parent's car? (squinting) I can't read the license plate. (As if you have it memorized, Chandra Anne.)
B: Hey, wait a minute....

And then it all started to make sense and sure enough, I walked in and heard that dread word: “SURPRISE!”

This time, though....good surprise! A few of my parent's friends were there (people that I know too) and my friend Kristin was out from Airport City (the Manitoba-version). Well all us 'girls' sat at the same table and ate all my Mom's tasty food (even though I was still horridly full from the milkshake) and I haven't laughed that much since Chandra's party in February. When she and Kristin get together, hilarity ensues.

So, it was a few days late but was just the right mix of people and food – thanks for the party, Mom! You redeemed the whole 'surprise party' ordeal for me.

19 May, 2009


We made it here in one piece! The last few days of the trip were infinitely better than the first few - only because we did more fun stuff and slightly less driving each day. We made it across the border, somewhat surprisingly because we accidentally chose the Port of Entry* with the two crankiest customs officers I've met in recent years. They were brutal! It didn't help that it was right over the supper hour and the Little Goat was NOT happy to be waiting on food and then I had to change her on the ground outside because they didn't have a public bathroom....anyway, we're here now and phew!

We got to our new house and my parents and uncle were already there and Erin K. & Co. arrived just a few minutes after we did. Mom brought food so we ate and then started unloading. Two of my old friends from college who live in the same town also came over to help and the truck was unloaded before dark!

The house itself is huge and we are going to be spoiled! Our couches are set up in the living room along with two big end tables that are old but were already there and go rather well with our couches, and we still have this huge area of carpeted (!) empty space! Yes, that's right. Empty. Space. The bedrooms are big too and the girls' room is just the perfect size for sharing. Even the shade of pink doesn't look too bad with all the white furniture.

Our bathroom and backyard are another matter entirely. I've always wanted a purple bathroom for whatever reason and I lucked out in that the toilet, sink, and bathtub are all - PURPLE! Not even a bad shade of purple (even LJ likes them). The thing is, there's carpet in the bathroom. Like nasty green indoor/outdoor carpet. It's at the top of our list of requests to make of the landlord because carpet in a bathroom? Yikes!

The backyard is merely the product of Renter's Neglect. Most of it hasn't been taken care of in well over a year and because it's so big it now looks like a wilderness preserve. The creek which I was imagining to be so picturesque isn't so much picturesque as deadly-looking (there's at least a 6-8 foot DROP down to the bank), but then we found out it's called Dead Horse Creek so I suppose the name makes the view rather fitting. LJ has decided to design some sort of old-fashioned type sign with a horse skeleton on it just to be funny. There IS a garden though and he can hardly wait to plant it. Our landlady (who is great, by the way!) had somebody come in last week to give an estimate so the yard could at least get a good once-over and then we can take it from there. Otherwise, just looking after that could be a year-long project.

We stayed at our new place from Monday until Thursday and came out here to my parents' place on Thursday afternoon. LJ is writing his certification exam as I'm typing this and lots of people are thinking of him and praying all goes well (this really is the last hurdle that we can think of since he needs the certification to work). I'm confident he'll do great though. He's pretty smart, you know.

Our first week back has been an interesting one when it comes to re-orienting myself to living in Canada. Things really are different here and food prices and car insurance prices and truly crappy cell-phone service plans have been a little shocking. On that note, I've decided not to rename the blog just yet because I still do feel like a bit of a stranger here.

Oh, a couple of fun bits of trivia for you:
1) Erin K. & Co. only live about a 10 minute walk from us (though it's been way too cold and I'm too tired to walk anywhere lately) and we are so excited to actually have friends in the same town.
2) Our next -door neighbours to the north of us are an older couple (who we've been assured will "keep a good eye on us" [read: spy]) who used to be good friends with my late grandparents.
3) We weren't even there for 72 hours and a lady from down the street stopped by to bring us (still warm from the oven!) raisin bran muffins (the LG devoured at least four of them) and a card to welcome us to town and told LJ "see you at the clinic!" He's not sure if she works there or if word just travels that fast. I'm pretty sure it just travels that fast.
4) And finally, when we leave my parents' house tomorrow, we're NOT getting on a plane!

*If you're getting to this post via a Google search for Canada Work Permit, let me just tell you that the government website is really incomplete. We learned a lot of things that nobody ever told us and we sure hadn't read anywhere. Email me if you have questions!

10 May, 2009


It seems like forever since I've blogged and I'm just popping in to let you know that I won't be around for real for at least another week yet since we don't know when we'll have internet hooked up at our new place.

The trip so far has been exhausting and my ankles and feet end every day in swollen despair. We had a great stopover visiting friends in Iowa though and we've taken two days in Minneapolis to relax a bit. We spent WAY too much time at Ikea yesterday and spent more than we maybe should have but it was fun. Then we came back to the hotel for a breather before heading over to the Mall of America which was pretty much a bust for us because it's impossible to orient yourself fast enough to see everything you want to see. The only store we went into was the mall gift shop to pick up a postcard. Otherwise, we got food and poked around Legoland which was quite a disappointment. Plus, the LG was horridly crabby.

Anyway, LJ is reminding me that we have to finish getting ready to go and check-out is in fifteen minutes. Happy Mother's Day, Moms and I'll see you in a week or two (I haven't checked Google Reader lately and I'm afraid...very afraid....)!

01 May, 2009

Quick Update

Hey, it turns out we don't have to drive down to Airport City for the Uhaul afterall! Hooray! The lady LJ talked to yesterday did some finagling and fixed it all up so it'll be in town tomorrow morning at 8!

Now we just need good truck-packing weather for tomorrow and good driving weather for the next week!