8 07 2019

She was more than a bit long in the tooth, to say the least. A bit grungy, a bit worn.  A lock that needed persuasive urging to open. A tinge of long-ago smoked cigarettes greeted us as we opened the door to our weekend getaway AirBnB in Surrey. Lois The Motor Home was the 1980’s rode-hard-and-put-away-wet version of a unique (so we thought) funky and inexpensive place to stay after we dropped the kids off at their own place as we prepared for a fun and epic festival and shopping-filled weekend away.

Jill and I looked at each other, and burst out laughing as we entered the old motor home parked on a beautiful property just on the border of Whiterock. It was quiet and forested, with a hot tub and pool for us to use whenever we wanted. When we mutually decided to book it, we thought, Hey, what a fun adventure…. “camping” in the city!! Why not?!

We unloaded our car and set about planning our days ahead of us. This was when we discovered the owners didn’t exactly hold up their end of the traditional AirBnB bargain of supplying the basic necessities of… well…. normal life.

No toilet paper. Two towels. No garbage can/bags. No dish soap. Minimal dishes. Nary a broom to be found. NO BOTTLE OPENER.  Jill messaged the owner with our concerns and someone brought us two rolls of TP and some soap with a couple squeezes at the very bottom to do dishes with.

But hey, sometimes you’re faced with these situations and there’s not much else to do other than laugh about it and deal with the status quo. We made due at the time. The next morning we found the shower head was more intent on facing the wall instead of, you know… OUR ACTUAL BODIES. The water puddled on the floor under our feet with no way of being absorbed because… you know TWO TOWELS and all. The fuse blew every time we tried to blow dry our hair. We laughed about our smoker’s lung after breathing in that stale smoker smell.

We weren’t there all that much for the first two days. But on Saturday, we realized we were running low on TP and our towels were hot soggy messes. I went to the owner and asked him for more toilet paper and a couple more towels, so at the very least we could have something on the floor to mop up the leaky shower.

He looked at me with an odd expression and (I SHIT YOU NOT) said “But I already gave you two rolls.”

I placed my hands together in an effort to prevent myself from punching this dude in the face and finding some sort of calm within a prayer pose and said, “Yes. But you see, we’re girls. We need more than two rolls. And more towels too. That would be extremely convenient if you could provide this for us.” I gave him a smile that I hoped relayed more of a hopeful message, rather than a murderous one.

He looked vaguely out of sorts and offered to wash our towels for us after admitting he had no more toilet paper.

That was the moment when I knew I wanted to write the AirBnB review. I’m still penning it in my mind as I write this post.

He luckily scrounged some more TP for us and two fresh towels were laid out for us upon our return that day.

But you know, all in all, these are the sorts of adventures that can either ruin your trip or make your trip something to remember. Jill and I are both pretty easy-going gals, and we sure as hell laughed a whole lot about it. Maybe some people would have been horrified and demanded a refund while seeking modern comforts. But to me, we both survived and the memories and laughs we shared together are more precious than gold.

But, for the love of all that is good in this world, at least provide adequate toilet paper.








27 03 2014

Oh March.

You silly little month. Sometimes you gift us unbelievably warm days where our cheeks and noses pink up from the sun and bare arms are warm and tingly. Days where a cold cider or beer tastes so good, sipped on the deck while that sunshine warms up everything. You’ve pruned, raked, burned, plucked, mucked everything, and then you reward yourself in the late afternoon on your dusted-off deck furniture you’ve finally rescued from storage.

Days that are the promise of what is to come. Hot days, sun, beers with your best friends. Sitting on the deck in midsummer, the sounds of sprinklers and motorcycles hum in the distance. God, summertime is just the best isn’t it??? I mean, I love every season for its own distinct beauty, (you all know me + winter = skiing/heaven. I love my winters SO much)  but nothing and I mean NOTHING beats summer time.

So, this brings me back to March. You tease us with warm days, delightful foreshadowing, and then you drop the bomb on us: freezing rain, sleet, 8 cms of snow, wind. It just SUCKS. You know what March is? TRANSITION, my friends. Where we all have to dig deep and bear with it. BREATHE IN AND OUT. Just like birth, those last 2 centimeters of dilation where you think you’re going to lose your freakin’ mind…. Take each day with whimsy and humour. Hahah, Mother Nature, fuck you and that muddy slop out there, crusted over with a sliver of ice… I am wearing a skirt with no leggings and I DON’T CARE.

One day soon it will be April and tulips everywhere will be standing proud, chock full of Hallmark Easter colours. Sun will shine and bike rides will be new again. Baseballs and soccer balls litter the deck. Those damn birds wake us up at 4 am with their incessant and delightful chatter. (It’s kind of okay to waken that early; the light and breath of air is alarming in its pleasant vigour) Chocolate eggs and coffee in the morning? Yes please.

May is soft rains and the full moon over the “Swooping Swallow” across the lake behind Procter. Mosquitoes squeal incessantly in your ears and hummingbirds remember their feeder in your yard. Windows wide open! If you’re lucky, you’ve been wearing shorts for a few days and your legs are no longer blindingly white.

June can be a bit of a dirty whore around these parts. She brings epic rains, closed soccer fields and floods down Baker Street, where ski bums hoist their kayaks out and paddle around the main drag while people laugh and take pictures to post to Instagram. Everything is lush. Trees are drunk with spring rain, the green is almost gaudy.

Finally, the heat arrives with July. When it’s warm at 6 am and HOT by 9. Gardens act like leggy teenagers, growing inches overnight. The water in our lake no longer bites, but envelopes us. Light lingers late into the evening allowing lazy swims just before bed.

This is when my soul exhales, even though I haven’t even been aware she was holding her breath. We made it another year, summer is finally all around us. We can relax, paint our toenails and laugh more freely.

It is all in front of us, every single delicious moment. Take a look around and savour it, this wanton anticipation. The reward is almost here.

Oh, how sweet it was.

22 01 2014

Someone asked me the other day to sum up our little trip to Mexico in one sentence. I thought about it for several days, letting various words dance in my mouth, the structure and play of sentences whirl around my mind like dervishes. Words like tantalize, ache, heat and love, surf and salty breath, sticky, delicious, satisfaction: they all teased me, almost in a sexual way. Erotica in the form of sand and sunshine? Maybe.

But I just couldn’t do it. There was too much to gather, to reveal and to acknowledge, regardless if I jammed it all into a long, run-on, overly wordy sentence jam-packed with semi-colons and pro-nouns and commas and adjectives.

What did come to me was each long drawn out day. Each one arrived with me waking at dawn, sliding out from the covers to peek outside at the sky. I’d stretch and yawn, and marvel at how we still had ___ days left. Each day breaking was like a ribbon, it stretched out before me, waving in that warm tropical breeze. I couldn’t see the end of it, as every moment was NOW. We moved in slow motion, grabbing coffees and heading to the playa to watch that marvelous ball of heat rise from the ocean waves. Pelicans gliding above the water, backlit against orange, tilting each way to play their wings along the surface of each crest. The wind blowing back my hair, feeling that warmth on my my face. Breakfasts with laughter and mimosas and pain au chocolat. Sunscreen slathered, towels gathered. Waves pushing and pulling us to their whims. Fish swarming by, flashing blue and yellow and sparkly silver. Lunch? Yes please! Pico de gallo smothering thick crunchy tortilla chips, finished off with cervezas or margaritas. A stroll to discover treasures amongst the rocks, spotting the camouflaged iguanas. Swimming again, wondering how I can be so sticky from the salt water. Laying down on the beach chairs: that magical afternoon beach nap, where you hover in between true sleep and that blissful zone of awareness without connection. Hearing half a dozen languages around you. Finding out how easy Spanish words roll out of my mouth. Knowing your nose needs more sunscreen and not really caring. Oh, wait! It’s almost supper! Meandering back to the villa to shower off and change as the sun sets. But here in the tropics WHAM, it’s dark almost instantly. There’s no foreplay with these sunsets. Rather than a long, drawn-out dance of colours, like making slow love, hovering and teasing between light and dark for an hour, they are more of a quick and dirty tryst, a quick and furtive knee-knocker, the light is bright orange and then dark…. but both are equally satisfying. No need to bundle up, folks. We walk to dinner in our sleeveless dresses, t-shirts and shorts. We laugh and eat and laugh some more. Check out the entertainment, or maybe another moonlit stroll on the sand? Whatever….We roll with it, we cease to tell time. We relax so deeply and breathe so easy. We vacation in that true sense.

Each day dawns with one purpose. To live in the moment. We stop counting days to when we go home: rather we marvel at how much time we still have here. Oh, it was heaven, and it stays with me still. The echoes of that scent of the air, the smiles of my kids, the peace in my heart, the sand between my toes.  The utter contentment we all felt.

There’s always one in every crowd… In this case, there was more than one…

21 01 2014

We went to a show at the resort one night, during our (heavenly) week in Mexico. It was a fun performance, full of hip hop, break dancing and funky music. At the end of the night, the MC got a few folks up on the stage for a couple of funny games to try to win prizes. We watched this one man up there carry on as if he were a comedian himself. (Maybe he was, I dunno.) He took various liberties with the other people on the stage to eek out a few laughs from the audience and while I admittedly thought he was funny at first, his increasingly annoying antics led me to believe that he was That Guy…. You know the one, that guy who doesn’t know he stopped being funny ages ago and thinks he can just keep on doing his thing even though most people are getting kind of squirmy and uncomfortable. He tried taking center stage, and I noticed his son and wife in the audience laughing as if it was the funniest thing in the world. Shortly after, the boy ran up on stage and started acting like a mini-version of his dad, grabbing at people and running around like a little maniac. The mom stood up and started taking video, occasionally looking around to validate to everyone in the audience that yes indeed, these two are the MOST AMAZING PEOPLE IN THE WORLD.

I try not to judge people, as I am sure they are a loving group and have nothing but good intentions… but man… sometimes there are people that drive me up the wall….

And so, two nights later, we decided to catch the circus show that had various acrobatic performances. Guess who we ended up sitting right next to?

Granted, it was no Cirque du Soleil, but for a family-friendly free show, it was entertaining. At one point one of the girls on stage was rope climbing to do some crazy-ass flippy sort of trick and her sheer strength blew me away…. I turned to comment on this to my family and noticed the mom beside me, with a pinched angry face and her arms crossed as if someone just farted in her face. She didn’t clap once. Meanwhile, her son, who was in front of me bounced around, standing up and talking to his cousin (or brother, not sure, as there was a whole crew of them), ignoring the performance in front of them and basically being a nuisance. All the while, the dad was drinking and the mom sat, unimpressed while the rest of the packed theatre went crazy with the performance.

After the show, a clown got up on stage and did his schtick. Hey!! Guess who went up on stage?? And tried to take over the show? And guess whose son went up to do a goofy dance? And guess who thought it was the funniest thing on the planet and got her video camera out? Both the son and the dad were up there, carrying on…. and what got me were the pleading looks of validation they kept shooting out to her. And she would clap and laugh and cheer them on, completely oblivious of the body language of everyone else around them. The poor clown tried to direct his comedy routine in the direction intended, but they just kept on doing their own thing, ultimately souring the whole performance. The kicker for me was when the dad thought he could grab some of the acrobatic props to try to do a trick. We finally just got up and left, as did a good majority of people, leaving them to their own desperate comedic devices.

We all had a good chuckle over “some people” as we walked under the Mexican moonlight back to our villa.

Other than the antics of the Not So Funny Duo, we enjoyed our stay at the Grand Bahia immensely and loved every single moment.