June 29, 2012


Unpacking thinks

You ever come home and start emptying your pockets, all of them, onto the table? Or dump out your purse, and just stare at all the crap in front of you, and think, "how did I accumulate all that crap?". Well, I am doing this blog post as a way of emptying the pockets of my brain. You've been warned.

I've driven about 7500 km in the past 3 weeks. Half of them, I've been behind the wheel. I think while I drive. It's an occupational hazard, but I think and think and think. And then I have to put all the thinks somewhere. Some will be columns. Some will be conversations. Some will be nothing, but some will be right here, right now.

I just wrote a bunch about who buys what cars, and why, and what role car reviews play and what role car reviewers play, but decided it was a column, so I just cut and pasted it for that. Sorry. It started out bloggy, but got interesting and succinct, and we all know that can't happen here.

I've been home about 3 nights in the past 3 weeks, and I am going to try to get caught up with laundry and stuff today. The house is just suitcases everywhere; seriously: my biggest one is still in the middle of the living room floor, open, where I left it over 2 weeks ago when I dropped it back home after deciding I could drive across the country with a pair of jeans and a toothbrush. We were getting in so fricking late at night that the fact I actually put in a dress for dinner is laughable. Maggie the Cat has been sitting in it. The suitcase, not the dress. Black isn't her colour.

I had a letter delivered yesterday from an old friend of my parents. Actually, it was quite sweet. She had written to the Toronto Star, and they forwarded it to the Globe and Mail, who sent it in an envelope of other letters they'd received for me. I think that's pretty cool, of both papers. Thank you. As soon as I saw the name, I remembered her. Her note says I won't remember her, but I remember tons of details, even though I was probably 8 when I last saw them. She told me where they now live, and I drove through there two days ago. Kind of freaky - if I 'd received it before I left, I would have stopped by. She doesn't know Mom died 12 years ago, but I found her number and will call her later. The lady, not my Mom. If I want to talk to Mom I just yell it out.

Had a really nice few days with Ari up north. We did a loop around Georgian Bay for a tourism piece I'm writing. I made him come with me, baited him with a lot of neat stuff they'd scheduled. Some of it turned out to be a little un-neat for him, but the kid is a great sport. And yesterday was a blast: at Blue Mountain, we went to Scenic Caves Eco Adventures. Oh. We did this walk around the treetops thing, which I nodded and said fine. IT IS A SERIES OF TINY, SWINGING PLATFORMS THAT YOU HAVE TO HOOK HARNESSES TO AND WALK ALONG WHILE THEY SWING UNDER YOUR FEET AND YOU HANG ON. DID I MENTION THAT THEY SWING? Suspension bridges. All through this big section of the forest. I was terrified. Ari went skipping along, laughing at me. I kept asking our (trained in medical emergencies) guides when they'd last replaced the wood. Every time something creaked, I screamed. 2 of the guides were totally certificated in medical stuff. One was in the midst of his training. I asked that the first two attend to me while the not-ready guy pull out a cell phone and scream for help if I fell.

Oh, then we ziplined out of the forest. There are guides who catch you at the bottom of the zipline. I asked how many giant asses they have aimed at their heads all day long.

We also went to Wasaga Beach for a standup paddleboard lesson with Eagle Adventure Experiences. Now, this is fun. I called it Ontario surfing. You essentially stand on a surfboard and paddle like a canoe. I am not sporty, but I have been canoeing forever. And of course, thanks to my tango excellence, my balance is a little better. Ari of course, has a lesson for ten minutes then is off ready for tryouts for the Olympic team. I was doing this wobbly trying to stand up on the board thing that was not quite as photogenic. And he wants a board for the cottage, and for once, I'm in agreement. Awesome workout, and really fun. On the itinerary I kept calling it 'waterboarding', and had to keep correcting myself. When people ask you where you're off to next and you  say 'our waterboarding lesson', they look at you funny.

Ari was a good sport. He was on his phone learning of how many parties he was missing to be with his mother, stuck on a ferry between Manitoulin Island and Tobermory. I took him to Tobermory on a gig when he was 13 in a Mini, and I kept saying 'remember when we went here?' because to me it was a magical bonding experience. He nodded and said it hadn't been THAT magical. Then he asked if we could go home a day early because Sarah was having a party. I said no.

As we left Sudbury on Tuesday, heading north towards Espanola, the highway was shut down. I'd earlier pulled aside to let a procession of cop cars go past, escorting a giant crane down the two lane highway. I forget the number. Sorry. Anyway, about a half hour ahead, everything stopped cold. Maybe a dozen cars ahead of us, you could see the cop standing on the road. Apparently, the crane had to stop at a bridge undergoing repairs, because they were worried the crane was wider than the construction entrance to the bridge. Cars piled up behind us, as everyone shut off their engines and got out to find out what was going on.

It reminded me of when we were kids coming home from the cottage, and a tracker trailer would jackknife across Hwy 69 and shut it for hours. We'd scramble up on the rocks by the side of the road, have picnics, and generally think it was great. My father did not think it was so great.

Thing is, on Tuesday, that crane was headed to Elliot Lake, where the mall roof had collapsed. It was supposed to be digging out those poor women who died. We learned this as we shared information on that highway, between conversations with the OPP on the phone and the cop. As we all tried to figure out why we were going to be delayed, and what a pain that was, and wow, it was so hot, but it costs too much to run the a/c, and that guy on the motorcycle must be burning up, here's a water, dude, how long is this going to throw us off schedule?, is there another road around here we could detour too?, any of you locals know another way around?, this is such a pain, how did the cops not know about the bridge construction?, it's so hot, have a nap in the back, you'll live, look how far back the cars are stacking up, wonder what the other side looks like, the traffic southbound is usually even heavier and on and on...

People died. People died in a damned mall. That crane was supposed to be trying to help them, and stupid logistics delayed it at least an hour. It's frustrating and sad and scary. And we stood around wondering how this would impact our schedules.

I'm sorry.






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4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thought you said you were taking today off? Blog doesn't count? Glad you're back safe and sound. The trip with Ari sounds amazing. I saw the Blue Mountain stuff on BT this morning. I think my kids would love it so I just might give it a shot. Its hard to entice 12, 15 & 18 to go anywhere with Mom, although they always will, but that might actually get some enthusiasm!
Enjoy your long Canada Day weekend!

June 29, 2012 11:20 AM  
Anonymous Roz said...

This mall collapse has really made me think. Why does it seem we are faster to respond to some third world catastrophe than we are to our own?

June 29, 2012 12:26 PM  
Blogger Chris Brown (not the felon) said...

My first reaction when reading the top part of the blog was "Well of course you get an echo in the Scenic Cave Eco Adventures" Then I realized it was Eco... not echo. Huh. Some days "dumb" just doesn't even start to describe me.

Sounds like an awesome trip. If the kids don't want to go next time PICK ME!!!! I love stuff like that. And I'm mostly pretty sanitary. Except for the Great Monkey Doo Doo Expedition. But that was NOT my fault.

I used to fly up to Elliot Lake regularly. People would look at us like we were Narcs. It was a small enough town that everyone knew everyone else. If you had short hair and were under 40 you had to be a Narc. I was in that mall many times. Fortunately that was 30 years ago.

Enjoy the long weekend. You deserve it.

June 29, 2012 2:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Roz. Where was all the help??
Hope you enjoyed a long weekend! WRC

July 02, 2012 5:53 PM  

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