Monday, April 17, 2006


A long weekend in broad strokes

Our internet connection died on Saturday, which would have been horrendous on a dreary winter long weekend, but was barely noticed on this busy and sunshine-filled couple of days. (If you had told me I'd spend two of four days of a long weekend with neither shopping nor Internet, I'd've told you I wouldn't make it through half of it with my sanity intact.)

I spent most of Friday rehabilitating my gardens after a long winter. I raked, I pruned, I turned the earth - and it was good. I only meant to do 15 minutes of work and ended up spending two hours on it. If only I could sustain that kind of enthusiasm throughout the season.

Friday night we went out for dinner with my folks to a great little upscale burger joint called The Works. If you ever get the chance to check it out, I highly recommend the sweet potato fries. And the boys were tickled by beverages that arrived in pyrex measuring cups.

My father and the waiter sustained an ongoing banter throughout the meal, starting with the waiver my dad had to sign to have his burger cooked only to rare. They actually had a waiver (how very un-Canadian), and to the statement that he indemnified the restaurant of any gastrointestinal dismay as a result of undercooked meat, he added a clause that the choice of vehicular or helicopter ambulance would be his. To which the waiter something else clever that escapes me, and my father rejoindered that his remains should be available for takeout in a white styrofoam box. The waiter replied that all remains become the property of the restaurant, and get fed back into the meat grinder. It was that kind of conversation, reminiscent of many, many childhood experiences watching my dad kibitz with whomever would play along. It's one of my favourite things about him, to this day.

I don't know whether it was the day spent outside, or the loud music and laid-back atmosphere of the pub, or just a cosmic warm spot, but it was one of the best restaurant meals ever with the boys. Tristan was a little squirrelly, but occupied himself driving toy cars on the bench beside me, and Simon entertained himself for the best part of an hour with two ice cubes, a lemon wedge, and 52 ml of water in his small-sized measuring cup. We took a loping drive back across town on roads I never drive through neighbourhoods I forgot exist. It was like being on vacation in my own city, and it was lovely.

All the bending and turning of the yard work must have loosened something in my caboose, because I was pulling Simon's pyjama bottoms up when the subtle forward-leaning movement caused something to shift ever so slightly in my back and I was briefly but painfully unable to move. I think I pinched the sciatic nerve, given the intensity of the pain radiating down my leg, and I couldn't sleep that night because every time I turned on to either side, pain radiated down my hip and into my leg. I spent Saturday gingerly running errands and gasping when I forgot and moved too quickly.

We spent a good portion of Sunday outside as well. (How will I ever reclimatize myself to an office after four days of sunshine and fresh air?) We went to the park, we wandered the 'hood, and we sated ourselved on turkey dinner chez mes parents. It was the first time we could open the back door and shoo the boys outside to entertain themselves - and it was good.

Today, the boys, the dog and I went for a wander through a little conservation area a few clicks from our house. There's a kilometre or so of trails, plus another click or so of boardwalk through marsh grasses beside the Rideau River. It's lovely in any season, but we don't get down there in the winter, so being back makes the arrival of spring official. The river is as low as I've ever seen it, which I can only guess means they are filling the Rideau Canal for the summer boating season. Winter really is over - every year, I can hardly believe we've made it through another one.

There really should be more long weekends sprinkled through the year. The house is as clean as it ever gets - which, for what it's worth, is not really very clean, but what the hell. Playing is more fun. The garage is reorganized, and the dead leaves are out of the flower beds. The tulips and daffs are peeking out, and the worst of the dog crap is lifted. Most of the laundry is done, and the cupboards are overflowing with chocolate eggs. And I got a sizeable chunk of a good book read. It's been a good weekend!

(Hmmm, look at all the stuff I managed to get done without Internet access. I wonder if there is a message hidden in there somewhere? What's that? La la la, I can't hear you....)