Friday, December 22, 2006

Jingle All The Way

Tomorrow morning we're heading to the Okanagan for Christmas. I'm excited about getting to see family and do all the Christmas hoopla. I am not excited about the drive. You're probably thinking you wouldn't want to do an 11 hour drive with 2 two year olds either. Surprisingly, that is not what I am dreading. See the last time we did this drive in the winter we got stuck in an Avalanche. I don't mean buried under it or anything. I mean stopped in the middle of the Rogers Pass on a random stretch of highway for hours and hours and hours waiting for Evironment Canada to finish their blasting and snow clearing.

We were moving from Vernon to Medicine Hat. Hugh's dad was driving our U-Haul, Hugh was driving our truck and camper, and I was driving the van with the kids. Hugh's mom was with me on kid patrol making sure the portable DVD player never stopped and keeping up a steady stream of snacks. We had been making really good time and pulled up to the road blockade about 3:00pm. Originally we were told we'd be stuck for about 2 hours. Oh great! What the heck are we going to do with our kids in the literal middle of nowhere for 2 hours! We couldn't even all hang out together because none of the vehicles had room for more than 2 or 3 people.

But I had packed my 5-pack of Baby Einstein DVD's so I figured I would just lull the kids into insensibility with endless Baby Einstein. "Um, has anyone seen the kids DVD's?" Blank stares. Am I speaking english? Turns out that somehow or other they had been packed into the U-Haul and there was no way they were seeing the light of day until we unpacked that thing. Luckily, that morning I had borrowed Bambi from my sister-in-law thinking my kids might watch a long movie if they couldn't move. I opened the DVD (a little frantically I confess) to find that we only had the special features disc! I didn't even know if they would like the movie. I was darn sure they weren't going to care how it was made. So the movie thing was a bust but I figured 2 hours was do-able.

Well, 2 hours became 3 which meant suppertime and we were all getting hungry. Food onhand? 2 slices of pizza left over from packing the night before. 8 oatmeal cookies and a case of bottled water. And of all things, I was stressed because I'm a sugar nazi and I didn't want my kids to eat the cookies. After a brief counselling session with my mother-in-law where I was reassured that my kids would not end up with ADHD I relented and fed my starving children.

When 3 hours became 4 and I had listened to the one Baby Einstein DVD that hadn't been packed because it was in the DVD player about 20,000 times, my left eye began to develop a small tic and every so often my head twitched uncontrollably. Through gritted teeth I said to Mom Cyr, "!" She suggested a walk to clear my head.

I thought that was a great idea for about 30 seconds. Did I mention we were in the mountains in the cold and blowing snow?

By now it was 7:00pm and technically the kids bedtime. I had been counting on the moving car to lull them gently to sleep. They were tired and cranky but I kept thinking it would be any minute that we'd get the go ahead. I walked up to Hugh and his dad who were talking to one of the BC Environment guys and I heard the news. It would be at least another hour. I think I may have cried a little.

To kill that hour we bundled up the kids in all the clothes we could find and we walked up and down the row of cars. At 8:00pm we put the kids back in the van and got ready to drive. I think at this point I was more hoping we would get to move than believing we would. And sure enough the next time frame we were given was 10:00pm. I know I cried when I heard that. By this time the kids had gone beyond cranky to become weapons of mass destruction. For their own safety (I was ready to become a weapon of mass destruction) we stood outside the van and let them cry/scream until they dropped off from sheer exaustion. Did you know that 10 minutes of screaming actually feels like an hour?

Once the kids had fallen asleep I did not want to open the van doors again and wake them up so mom and I went to the U-Haul to hang out in the cab with the boys. We squeezed 4 adults into a 2-man cab. Then every 3 or 4 minutes someone had to check on the kids and it was jostle, jostle, shift. Jostle, jostle, suck in your breath. Shift. Jostle. Out. It was all very funny. Funny bordering on hysteria.

Sometime later (time had lost all meaning) mom and I went back to the van and the kids slept through the opening and closing of the doors. They even managed to sleep through the blinding lights that flashed on when the doors opened. Technology is all well and good in its place but seriously DO NOT WAKE THE BABIES!

Then finally, finally, finally they started to let cars through. It was shortly after 10:00pm. We had been sitting there for 7 hours. All I wanted to do was get to Calgary and find a hotel with a bed in that I could fall into.

We got to go all of 11 km before they stopped us again. I would have screamed with frustration except I really didn't want to wake the babies and at least we were at a gas station. I have never been so thankful for a gas station bathroom in my life. The bathroom line up was very long. I guess no one else wanted to go au natural out in the freezing cold either.

The other reason not to scream was the rows and rows of food. Glorious food! I gorged myself on black licorice, chips, juice, and those mini packets of mixed nuts until I felt sick. And then we waited some more.

It was shortly after 11:00pm when we were told the roads were clear enough to drive. We had been stopped for a grand total of 8 hours. 8 hours! A good friend of mine had driven the road the previous weekend and had been stopped for 4 hours because of the avanlanches. She advised me to check the road reports before we left "because it would really suck to get stuck for 4 hours with your kids in the middle of nowhere."

You think?

Lessons learned. 1) Make sure I know where the kids DVD's are at all times and 2) Pack food. Lot's and lot's of food.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Some Of My Christmas Fave's

White Christmas

Bing Crosby's Christmas

Oh Holy Night

It's a toss up between butter tarts and shortbread

Way to spend an evening:
By the Christmas tree lights with special hot chocolate

Starbucks drink:
Gingerbread Latte

Way to celebrate:
My family's Candlelight Christmas Eve.

Part of Christmas day:

Part of Turkey Dinner:
My mom's stuffing

What are some of your fave's?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Reporting Back...

Sorry that it has been so long since my last post. We just hit an oddly busy spell. I say oddly because I could probably go for days on end without a reason to leave the house unless I made up something. My social calendar here is not exactly what you call overflowing.

The reason for this post is to report on Hugh's work Christmas party.

For those who are interested (and Paul I know this won't be you) I wore a black wrap dress, aqua pumps and a great necklace that my mom brought back from Italy. I definitely wasted the worry over what to wear. A couple girls were wearing jeans and hoodies! I'm sorry is this a Christmas party or breakfast at Humpty's? (The trucker's version of Denny's.) Some of the women were wearing office wear: trousers and a blouse. And several pulled out the trashy Mariposa and were wearing sparkly little numbers that emphasized their cleavage, panty lines, and and every little roll on their bodies. I guess the rednecks haven't heard about Spanx yet. Something else I noticed was the inordinate amount of bad shoes. I'm not sure when it became okay to pair sparkly gaucho's with Ugg's (nevermind when it became okay to wear cheap sparkly gaucho's) but I don't think I'll be jumping on board with that trend anytime soon. The other shoe of choice for the evening was the square toe, chunky heel black loafer popular in the late 90's. As for the men, Wranglers and plaid with the rope-like western necktie was the dress of choice. Other offerings include a clean white shirt under the slayer t-shirt and a clean hat worn backwards. Stacy London and Clinton Kelly from TLC's "What Not To Wear" would have had a heyday!

They had assigned seating for everyone and we were seated with the owners parents. His PARENTS! When we first walked in the owners mother was standing with the owner who I was meeting for the first time. When he introduced us to his mother we were told that (index finger waving in the air and pointing to the heavens) we had "something in common." So it's going to be like that is it. Then we're standing in the drink line up and behind us was a couple who had just come in. The guy's hair was parted down the middle and tied back in a low pony tail. He was wearing Lenon-esque glasses, sneakers and a shirt that was plaid but not flannel. I guessed it was his wife who was employed by the company. He didn't exactly fit the stereotypical look of a heavy duty mechanic. It turns out that he's the company computer guy (read geek) and our other dinner companions. Also seated at the table were the General Manager and his wife. Well our table certainly wasn't going to be rowdy...or fun.

Actually the people we sat with were very kind and we ended up having some good conversations with them. But all in all I was sadly disappointed. There was no wife swapping to watch, no fireworks set off, and no outrageous behaviour. The drunken owner did do an air guitar solo during AC/DC's "You Shook Me All Night Long" on the dance floor by himself that was quite amusing. And I did snort my drink up my nose when he stood up on a chair still playing his air guitar and tried to do the rock star leg hop across the stage. Surprisingly there's not a whole lot of room to do that leg hop on a chair. But other than that little episode it was a pretty anticlimactic evening and we were home by 10:30. Maybe next year will be more exciting.

Friday, December 1, 2006

Tis the Season

Hugh works in your average redneck truck shop. Many of them come into the shop the night after a "big game" not just hung over but actually still drunk. Their speech is liberally peppered with f-words and good grammar is what's considered a 4-letter word. My favourite is how they break up words with the f-word where there is just not a nat-f-ing-ural break in the word. There was a time when some of the men pulled their manly parts into shapes like the "batwing" or the "goat" and tried to surprise each other into looking. I am happy to say Hugh has refrained from joining in the fun of that game. At least as far as I know...

Next friday, a week from today is Hugh's staff Christmas party. Apparently it gets pretty wild. One year at the Christmas party a Foreman went home with the wife of a Parts Guy. Another year somebody thought it would be a good idea to light fireworks. That's always nice for the holidays. Of course it's better when the fireworks are an outdoor display. The Christmas party is no longer held at that particular hotel.

To be honest I'm not really looking forward to going. I know that I am generalizing about rednecks here and I know some of them and their wives will be great. But what on earth am I going to have in common with the couples who think UFC and a box of wine (so much more romantic than a 6-pack) is a good date night?

The other thought that is bringing me a little stress is the ever important question of what to wear. The party is a dinner and dance at a hotel banquet room so I assume it's sort of dressy. But you never know how people are going to interpret dressy. If I get all glammed up and discover everyone else thought dressy meant trashy Mariposa that's one thing. But what if I show up all glammed out and discover that everyone bought their outfits at the John Deere store in the mall? In case you're wondering if you read that right let me assure you it's true. John Deere, synonymous with farm equipment, has a clothing line. Who knew? On the other hand if they do buy their "dress flannels" at John Deere I don't exactly want to blend in. That tractor green really does nothing for me.

In a situation like this there's really only one thing to do. Start with a martini.