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Dear Diary – This week I’m vacationing at the cottage with the boys. Sort of. Thanks to covid, we haven’t been able to rent “our place” (which we’ve only been to twice. Ever), so we’re hanging at my folks’ and doing all the cottagey things. We stay up to late and sleep late. We snack. We read on the deck and snooze in the shade. We watch M*A*S*H* with dinner and I have a coconut cream pie stashed away for the end of the week. We skipped the annual Risk game and I banned Monopoly so we’d still be speaking at the end of the week, but we’ve still enjoyed several family games of Uno, Carcassone, Play 9, Five Crowns and Ticket to Ride: America and Europe. We also took a stab at the game, Unstable Unicorns. Of course, I had to get Pumpkin Spice because I’m oh so in to pumpkin spice

We went swimming in the pool and had a massive water fight. Mistakes were made. My life flashed before me when I inhaled half the pool (inhaled, not swallowed) and fought to catch my breath. I spent the remainder of the day hacking up a lung, and half the night too. On the plus side, when we went shopping the next morning, I was still discreetly coughing and everyone gave me a wide berth. It gave me unfettered access to the sales racks! Also something to remember the next time someone invades my personal space.

Nothing says vacation like vaccination! As well as relaxing this week, it’s a good opportunity for Big Guy to tackle some of those jobs that he simply doesn’t have the time or energy to get done.

We started with his car! Papa booked his car for major servicing (yet again) and dropped him off very early Monday morning. Sunday afternoon I evicted more than a laundry basket full of empty coffee cups and fast food packages from front passenger seat and floorwell. I didn’t have the strength to tackle the rest. My deepest sympathy to the mechanics. Sunday night I went to bed with my cell phone so Big Guy could call me if he needed a ride home. Hubby woke me early with a morning message or five. I could hear that someone was up but I assumed it was my Mom. Eventually I gave up and stumbled out of bed. Big Guy was already home and Mom was still in bed, so we made a Tim’s run to surprise her. The traffic was particularly heavy on their country road which could mean only one thing: an accident on the highway.

Oh look….a reminder of home on a normal day!

Having spent countless hours in such a position on a hot day, sometimes with a hangry kid and stinky guine pigs, all these folks had my sympathy too.

My Dad took care of the first item on Big Guy’s To-Do list so I took on the second: booking an appointment for his second covid vaccination. Now that the initial panic had died down, I thought it was be easy. Instead I once again found myself searching for a mystical unicorn on a wonky trail in a dark enchanted forest. I ended up calling 6 apothecaries in town. Some were was waiting on shipments of serum; others never had any. One store had appointments…the day after Big Guy went home. And finally, one had what I sought, but would only schedule appointments once they had enough “customers” to warrant opening the vial. My quest required me to journey farther afield. Again, most places were booking for the following week, but after much wailing and gnashing, and grumbling like an angry troll, I found my unicorn. I can now safely say, my immediate family has all been stabbed…twice. Take that Covid-10!

Big Guy didn’t arrive at my folks without a special gift for his Mom – a garbage bag full of dirty laundry. And not just any laundry: works laundry. Big Guy is a utility arborist who has the misfortune pleasure of working outdoors all year long. Like a postal worker, the weather never stops him from doing his job, no matter how many stars he wishes on! This time of year can be particularly “pleasant” because temperatures have sailed into the 40s (celsius) with high humidity following. Pile on hard hats, work boots, long-sleeved shirts and heavy kevlar-lined chainsaw pants and you’ll find a recipe for mephitic sweat that will make you go blind. Imagine all that tightly packed and sealed in a black garbage. In a hot car. For a day.

I should have known better. Afterall, the bag was still quite warm when he dropped it at my feet, by the washer. The brightly coloured orange and yellow work shirts contrasted with the noxious stench. The toxic, malodorous cloud swirled around my feet in an ominous mustard pool for only an instant before it began to assault my senses. Even Little Guy, who has virtually no sense of smell or taste on an ordinary day, could taste it and I yelled at him to flee, lest the poisonous vapour melt his fair skin from his frame.

This….this is love. This is the sacrifice that Moms make for their children. Even their adult children. I washed those polluted tunics, the crumpled undies, the stiffened socks. I bore the burden for his bedsheets and bathtowels. I rid the world of this ethereal evil and when he returns home next week, his co-workers will call me their champion. For a week or two.

Then it’s his turn to purge the evil.

Speaking of evil, we went on a ghost walk in the city. As the sun disappeared on the horizon, we were regaled with spooky ghost stories and interesting historical anecdotes about the city. We wandered down darkened streets past quaint limestone cottages and a few grand houses. I enjoyed the architecture and peeking in people’s windows more than the stories.

Afterward, we picked up some fancy doughnuts at Tim Horton’s. I imagine the calorie count on those doughnuts was the most frightening of all…next to the bathroom scales.

I slept with a night light.

If you really want to be afraid, weigh yourselves again in grams…

Jason Love