July 1st Canada Day

Getting up early, are you mad?

You wouldn’t think there’s much joy in getting up early, especially with kids. They’re like little alarm clocks…

Oh, who are we kidding?

Trucks. Jet engines. Kids waking up. Decibal level of noise in that order.

They’re like garbage trucks right outside your window emptying a bin full of glass, chunks of construction metal and concrete.

Now, it’s not something the kids do out of cruelty, no more than a meteor smashes into a planet does it out or cruelty – They are simply natural disasters with limited awareness of the effect they have on the world around them

Hey, it’s 7am, I think I’ll slam every door in the house closed, then play the drums at a concert hall level, then make a sound like I’m falling down the stairs so you can’t, you know, ignore that.

So why get up early when, for the first time in a long time, you could actually sleep in?

Plus, in a hotel room, it’s 10X harder! First of all, it’s hard to sneak around without anyone waking up. You must have the dexterity of a Cirque du Soleil acrobat and the patience of a bomb disposer.

But I wanted to get the blog done and the only time I could do that is in the early AM.

So, I eased out of bed without making squeaks cuz the Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World has mommy senses (which can detect her child sneezing from a mile away), unplucked the iphone from the charger, had a quick pee without it sounding like Niagara Falls, slipped into my clothes, found my shoes without asking my wife, “hey, where are my shoes?”

Then, I found my wallet without asking my wife, “hey, where’d I put my wallet?” extracted my hotel key from underneath a pile of coins, avoided tripping over the boys’ shoes that I asked them three hundred times to put under their bed, padded towards the door without sneezing as my allergies kicked in and my nose ran like a stream after a rainstorm, then unlocked the lock, pried the door open and shut it without a huge click as loud as a cannon going off.

All so I can write.

But there’s also another reason I got up so early.

The world is a different place at 6am. Crisp. Fresh. And largely free of people.

Is the word a better place without a lot of people? Well, yes, for sure, but more importantly, it’s a lot more peaceful.

A beautiful hanging basket from Victoria.ca

In Victoria, on Canada Day, on this day, it was especially peaceful. The sky was a bright, desert-sky blue. No crowds filled the sidewalks. No cars roared by or honked.

Gulls cried overhead. The odd boat puttered out of the Inner Harbor. The air smelled of the sea, not exhaust fumes and sweaty people who forgotten to put on deodorant. The coffee was freshly made, the baked goods newly delivered and smelling of cinnamon and warm chocolate. I didn’t have to fight anyone to get a seat or wait behind anyone who stared up at the food board and took a freaking year to decide to have a black coffee…

So why wouldn’t you want to experience that?

Why wouldn’t you go for a walk along deserted streets, passing by the hanging flower-baskets dripping after just being watered, stop at a café, sit down and look out at the glistening ocean waves while listening to Bach play on the café speakers and think, my goodness, isn’t the world wonderful, my goodness, wouldn’t the world be better without, you know, morons, anger-filled nutjobs, stressed out parents, activists, honkers, clueless idiots who stop their shopping carts in the middle of the aisle and block the entire aisle…

Without,  you know, people?

Cuz that is what the world is like at 6am. At least in Victoria. Today.

A perfect time to write. Because later, who knows what will happen?

 

A few sites to check out if you’re going to Victoria

https://www.tourismvictoria.com/  A good site for all things touristy.

Trip Advisor – Personally, my go-to site for tourist stuff.

Visit a City – You can plan days (so if you only have 2 days, they have suggestions)

Free Touristy Things – So you don’t have to spend billions.

Top 10 List – that leads to other top 10 lists.

 

 

Canada Day – What if Everything Goes Right?

In my mind, they’re avoiding either Godzilla or a toll bridge

I’ve said it before, but the best stories don’t come from happiness or things going right.

They come from falling asleep while waiting in the ferry line and being woken up by honking and a ferry worker banging on your window and telling you to get the car in f…ing gear, in dealing with the Greek police after a car accident, in sorting out where you would have left your wallet in a place where people speak English about as well as you speak Mongolian, in pitching a tent in the pouring rain while lightning snaps overhead and thunder shakes the ground.

Now, I won’t say I look forward to those things, but they do make for good stories.

Our destination, this year, however, could prove to be problematic, vis-à-vis problems.

We had chosen to go to Victoria.

Few things are as beautiful as the trip from Vancouver to Victoria.

I booked the ferry in advance because it’s a long weekend and on those occasions, people like to travel to the Island and plug up all the roads. Now, the ferries have an odd rule. You have to arrive ½ hr before departure, but not an hour before. In other words, they give you about a ½ hour window. 5:00 – 5:30 to catch that 6 ferry.

It’s a hard window to hit in Vancouver traffic. Invariably, there’s someone who’s determined to set their truck on fire, crash into someone else or drive at the speed of a tortoise on pain meds.

Then there’s the whole getting the kids ready, packed, yanking them off electronics, stuffing them into the car and panicking as we realize we have to make a 50 min drive in 20 min now.

It can be quite the ordeal.

But not this time.

Dynamite works well, too

This time, we were totally ready to go hours before we had to leave. HOURS! And when we actually had to leave, it wasn’t like surgically separating them from their electronics.

Hell, we even left before we had to leave. BEFORE!

When we arrived within that 30-minute ferry window. No cards were declined. No one threw up in the backseat. No one forgot to bring the paperwork.

It all went fine.

Everyone who hadn’t made a reservation had a 2 sailing wait.

Sailing to Victoria, the weather was magnificent, the ocean calm, and the captain even yelled at a skateboarder over the PA system (stop it, we have cameras and can see you, you totally f…ing moron.) The Youngest read. READ! The Oldest didn’t once punch his brother while thinking we weren’t looking. And we listened to the Oldest’s newest composition (something honestly amazing).

It was horrific.

Like Heaven might be.

Then, we blazed through ferry traffic, found a parking space right in front of our hotel and got an upgraded room so huge that the Youngest said, boy, this room is huge.

Tegan and Sara in concert. Free! On the parliament lawns!

Something odd was happening here.

But it didn’t stop there. On the parliament lawn, right beside us, there was a concert playing – A duo that the Prettiest-girl-in-the-World LOVES. Tegan and Sara.

Musicians played all over. There was a truck that sold mini-donuts. People were dancing and smiling and waving Canadian flags.

So we listened to the concert for a bit, went to get ice cream, strolled along streets shut off to traffic and took pictures of the glorious sunset. The only iffy thing that happened was the Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World mis-hearing the cost of the ice cream (“$40 for 4 cones??????, are you kidding me?” “Not $40. $14.”)

No ice cream got dripped on my shirt. No drunken idiots tried to beat up anyone (unlike my last visit to Victoria). No activists shouted at us, outraged at something. No police sirens wailed. Hell, the Youngest didn’t even wander off to touch something that really shouldn’t be touched.

By the time we got back to the hotel, I was reeling.

Nothing had gone wrong. We’d had a perfect time. Perfect.

And all without a plan.

How was this possible?

And would it last?

 

For fun, a Tegan and Sara video (ad kept in cuz that’s how T&S make a bit of coin.)

 

 

Life is Better With Plans, Right?

My first meme!!!

It’s been a while since I blogged and to my six fans out there, I apologize.

However.

I have a plan.

I’ve spent the last six months working on my novel, Yager’s War, a historical mystery set in 1940s Holland (about a Chicago detective who must find his missing sister before the Germans invade) and that has distracted me somewhat from sitting down and ramble-writing. AKA blogging.

All fair and fine.

But I’m back, baby.

Time to restart blogging, again. But time to kick it up a notch.

So this month, I’m going to look at revamping the website (which means an old dog like me will have to learn some new tricks.)

I’m going to look at changing up the content of the blog.

I’m going to try and make it a billion times better.

And maybe attract one more reader (see, proper goal setting is about making the bar so low that you’ll easily vault over it and not twist a metaphorical ankle.)

So put down that video game, pause season 5 of Homeland on Netflix, put supper back in the oven or move date night to tomorrow.

Cuz I may need your help.

What would you like to see in the blog?

I’m thinking some funny memes. Some advice from people who know what they’re talking about (and not, you know, me). A few guest blogs. Less selfies of me trying to look like Brad Pitt going insane.

Inner Harbour, Victoria, BC.

But first up, our trip to Victoria.

This year, we won’t be able to manage a proper vacation. You know, pack 20 bags, yell at the kids to hurry up, to stay together, to stop picking your nose in public, then spend 2 weeks somewhere that only I want to see (“What’s the deal with this Grand Canyon thing, Joe?” “Hello! It’s grand! And a canyon!”) and engage in Bataan death marches around exotic locals to see things we’ve never seen before (“Wait, Joe, I’ve seen the Eifel Tower on TV, so why do we need to see it in person?”)

Don’t get me wrong, next year, we are totally doing those things, but not this year.

This year, it’s short trips. Hit and run vacations. 2 days here. 2 days there. No planes. No borders. No strip searches (sadly – Apparently, they’re supposed to be done by professionals, not me.)

So this year, we’re going to try to do more things by… ack, I can’t even say it…by… by the seat of our pants.

Without a plan.

Without.

A.

Plan.

Grand Pacific in Victoria, BC.

Well, that’s not entirely true.

We’ve got a bit of a plan.We’ve booked a hotel (the fancy–smancy Grand Pacific) and we have arranged to visit family, but nothing like, 7am, breakfast, 7:35 go to bathroom, 7:50, get into car, 8:30 (have you ever tried to get kids into a car quickly???), head off to see something, 9:00 see something and take lots of pictures of it. 9:10 yell at kids for complaining there’s no wifi. 9:40 head off to see something else that may or may not be cool…. Etc, etc.

Nope. We’re trying to be more flexible (and by ‘we’, I mean, ME.) It’s me growing as a human being while devolving as one at the same time.

Friday night, we’ll take the ferry and sort out what to do when we get there. Saturday, brunch with family, then, THEN, sort out what to do afterward, then the evening, see fireworks, but make no plans where to see them from or what food to eat or ….

Wait, I need a moment.

Ok, hyperventilating over.

Then, Sunday, totally playing it by ear. Maybe see a friend. Maybe look around town. Maybe relax in the pool.

At the very least, it could be interesting.

Likely, I’ll be drinking more than usual.

At least, that’s the plan.

And hey, thanks to all my readers who followed me. I hope you’ll return, make a few comments below or on Facebook, and help me create a better blog. Text me, email me, respond in the comment section. Let me know what you think.