Friday, August 26, 2011

The summer in Bullets

Greetings! Whoa, so much happening, so little time to write! Thus, here is just a little Cliff-Notes version, bullet-style:

-- After my last post, things got busy. My favourite remaining Aunt from the coast made her way out here for a few days to see my dad (and us kids). She came for a few days and it sure was great to see her. When you don't have much family left, it's really poignant when you do get to see these people. She was such a big part of my younger life. Even though we have always lived at least a province away from each other, we would still go visit a few times a year, and so many good times were had. Anyway, she came to visit and we had the whole fam-damily over, and I met the new bro in law to be. I'll blog about all of that next time. This is just a summer chronology, folks.

-- So after the aunt left, we got ready to head out on our trip. Work was still insane, but I finally just had to say fuck it and go on holidays. We left on a Tuesday morning, and I will get back to the particular details of this day, because they are important, later on. But let's just fast forward for now: we made it to Drumheller, which, for you Americans, is this big old dinosaur town, as in there are tons of dinosaurs found there, and they have this cool dino museum, etc. So, we went to see the dinos, and the kids had never been, so they were impressed.
The next day, we went to Banff for the day. The kids were so excited to go there for some reason. They love Jasper, but now they love Banff more, simply because of the shopping and the fact that there are restrooms all over the place, AND because their is an Edo Japan there (my kids love eating there). Anyway, I have to admit: I usually am a Jasper snob, but i have to say, Banff was lots of fun this time. We did the gondola and the hike up the trail on Sulphur Mountain, and I am pretty sure that it was sort of snowing up there again, and I had to carry to boy all the way back, so thank the Lord I had lost some weight. We took a quick trip to the Banff Springs Hotel, shopped a bit (I bought a pair of lululemon gitch which fit like a fucking glove - worth the money and THEN went back to buy a shirt - I got it bad for lululemon). I also spent like 40 bucks at the candy store buying shit for everyone, include a 9 dollar turkish delight bar for myself (it was HUGE). Anyway, after two meals at Edo, we hit the road for Radium Hot Springs. On the way, we stopped at some sort of waterfall, and at this river, where we picked rocks and waded in the water - the water was freezing cold and made my feet ache, but it was worth it. Then we got to Radium and checked into the quaintest motel, the Picalilly or Picadilly or something, and it was a mom and pop place and I loved it. And I loved Radium. I love hot springs, and while it wasn't the hottest I've been in, it was nice and clean and fun and I wanna go back. The next day, we went to the park outside our motel and they had playground equipment that was also exercise equipment. It was really cool. Then we went to Fairmont Hot Springs, which we all hated, and then drove through Cranbrook, where I'd move in a second, if anyone wants to offer us high paying jobs, and then we drove through more Kooteney beauty. I've never been in the Kooteneys before, and fuck, it's beautiful.
Anyway, we crossed the border into Idaho (it was a busy crossing and we had to wait 20 minutes and I almost shit in my pants waiting because I get so nervous). Anyway, we got into Idaho, went to Sandpoint, and toured around and went to the beach for a swim. Sandpoint, ID is frigging beautiful, built on a lake, like the Shushwap, but without the expense or pretension. The water is fucking deep there though, so after like 2 feet, the water plunged to over your head. But it was awesome that this little town has infrastructure to have lifeguards and city beaches and clean change rooms and bathrooms and volleyball pits, etc. It was awesome.

So then we headed to Couer D'Alene, which is another place I'd move to. We stayed there last year, so we went to the same hotel - if you ever go there, it's pricy at most places, but the Shilo Inn is pretty nice and cheap and such. Also, Dagmar, the front desk woman, calls you sweetie, so it's a nice touch. ANYWAY, Couer D'Alene was a stop for us because we heard of this amusement park near there called Silverwood. Well, it's like 20 miles north, and it was AWESOME. It is an amusement park and a waterpark, and it's clean, very kid friendly, reasonably priced... we spent a day at the amusement park, and went the next day to the water park. it kicked Edmonton's ass. It is outdoors, and has two HUGE wave pools, a million waterslides, a lazy river... it was perfect.

We also did lots of Couer D'Alene shopping. My wife is an addict for Ross Dress for Less, the parent company that owns Canada's Winners, but it's better. So we went there asap, and TJ Maxx was next door, and that was even better. THEN, we discovered Fred Meyer grocery store. Let me tell you, that shit is bananas. It was awesome. Their clothes?? Columbia at discount prices. Underarmour? I bought one of everything, from shirts to socks to gitch, all at cheap prices. It was coupon week or something, so we now understand how extreme couponing works, and we have enough sunscreen to last us 14 summers, and we got it all for like 3 dollars each. Also, the Borders book chain is closing down, so I bought a pile of books, all at like 30% off. I got the Augusten Xmas book, and the book written by that Julie/Julia woman about some affair she had with her butcher, and I finally found "Fargo Rock City", and what else.... a book called Methland, about Meth in some midwest town, and I grabbed some sex book on impulse for 10 bucks, although I don't know what else it could tell me. There were more, but I can't remember right now.

So anyway, we then headed to Columbia Falls Montana, which is like 15 miles from Kalispell (which isn't anything special) and 7 miles from Whitefish. We had a timeshare from a friend. It was fucking BEAUTIFUL. I felt like Jed Clampett arriving in Beverley Hills. We walk in, at 11 pm, after a gong show of a night I won't even get into here - let's just say it was a stressful drive, we got lost, the office was closing at 11, and I was a dickhead). The condo was literally backing onto a golf course, and had two bedrooms, one with queen bed, one with king, a huge bathroom, a huge en suite attached to the bedroom with double sinks, a 3 person jet tub, separate shower, walk in closet, tv, etc. The living room had a sleeper sofa, love seat, tv, dvd, stereo, gas fireplace... the dining room had a solid oak table that sat 6, and we had a granite kitchen with all the bells and whistles. And we had laundry, and a hot tub on our deck. It was amazing. So, we spent the 4 days there going to Kalispell to shop, and then to Glacier National Park, where we drove the Going to the Sun Road for half the way, until we turned around in abject fear - i've never been on a scarier stretch of road. Scary shit. We went swimming in lake McDonald, and just enjoyed the park. The next day we went to Whitefish, where we went on ski lifts, but kid #1 was horribly sick with a high fever and sore throat so we didn't do too much. The next day, we went to Missoula and shopped and then the next day went to Helena and shopped and then went to Havre for the night, and the next day we shopped again, and then went home. Anyway, I'll fill in more blanks later.

We got home late Friday night, and I went into work on monday for a bit, and then we left for the National Park north of here for the rest of the week. We took the tent trailer and went camping. I bought this big honkin' camp stove, which is this 3 burner gas stove thing that can boil water in a minute, and it was a fucking dream. God bless American Costco prices.....

We came home Friday night, I started work Monday, and here we are. There is waaaay more to report, but I am not sure I am up for it right now.... hmmmmm....

Ok, just very quickly, let's go back to the first day of the trip. We finally get out of town. We get to the "city". We have a stop to make there and then we head out. Well, about 40 miles or so south of the city, we come across this crumpled vehicle that had rolled many times. I immediately thought "that must have happened last night" and was going to keep going, but we saw a car stopped with the driver on the phone, and this van stopped across the road with this one guy running all over the place. So I instinctively pull over, get out, and run to the crumpled vehicle. I see this guy covered in blood crawl out and then lay down on a pillow. I go to see the guy running around, who is by my van and he yells "we're missing someone!" so we look in the ditch for this missing person. I see this blanket there but don't make any connection. Then the guy goes, "there she is!" and then he says "she's gone... i need a blanket" and so we go ask daughter #2 if we can have her blanky, and she's crying, but we say there are people hurt, and they need to be warm. So we give our blanket and wait for the cops. My kid #2 is crying saying she's nervous, so we don't tell any of them that there are dead people right next to us, and so I say lets go, since there are now tons of cars and I was scared they would close the road. Well, i drove away in a state of anxiety, shock, and tears. I guess I was pretty grey looking. Anyway, I wasn't sure I could even drive, but I did. We stopped at the next town, and I made the Mrs. call everyone to say if they heard of an accident, it wasn't us. It turned out, the woman who died, that we covered with our blanket, was on her way from Calgary to her dad's funeral. The other person covered up was her daughter, and she lived, as did her hubby. Anyway, the whole accident affected me profoundly.
I was a wreck for a few days. And ever since then, I've been filled with anxiety, my old friend. As I know anxiety and panic well, I can at least say it was the straw that broke the camel's back, but it's no relief to say "I am feeling panicky because i am still traumatized from the accident". So long story short, I had to run the kids into the dr. the other day (because of strep throat that originated on the trip), and I went in too and just said "I'm anxious more than usual and I am trying to keep panic attacks at bay and if ever I was ready for real treatment, it's now (each year when i get my physical, we talk about my panic issues, but as they are usually only two or three times a year, I just get 10 ativan to get me through). Anyway, I said I wanted something else too, so I got some anti-anxiety drugs - it's an antidepressant that is supposed to work for anxiety, so we'll see. It's supposed to affect the libido, so we'll see if lil JT can withstand it. But anyway, while I am not sure if I will handle all the side effects as there are many, but I am also proud of myself for finally saying "gee, let's try something PROACTIVE."
Anyway, I hope none of you ever have to see bodies in a ditch next to you, and if you do, I hope you handle it better than I have. But anyway, that's been the summer. I have a wedding tomorrow night, but if we get home early, I'll fill you in on the latest family happenings, including meeting the new bro in law.

Peace out peeps!