We spent most of the second week doing chores at the house during the day, and then fun stuff with friends in the evening.

I spent two days scanning old photos so that we can throw out the mouldy albums. That was kind of fun. I found all sorts of funny stuff. Then I varnished a table. Scott did lots of pressure washing, which wasn’t very fun because he got wet and it was freezing out. And he helped dad carry lots of stuff. Rosemarie did a lot of kitchen stuff sorting. We took apart some cabinets and cleaned them so they can be re-used.

Writing that out it doesn’t sound like that much stuff but we filled up all the areas where we could store stuff and dad seemed pleased with his checklist, so I guess that’s good.

Unpictured:

  • Scott did get a day off one day when he went to Montreal to go to a metal concert (Mastodon) (by himself, because none of us wanted to go with him). He took a bus and stayed in an Airbnb and had a great time! And he came back with kouign amann and bagels!
  • That evening Rosemarie and I met up with Sarah and Lauren (different Lauren) for dinner and ice cream. This is the one time I forgot to take a group picture. :(

I swear the whole trip we never had more than two hours of free time, but that is partly our fault because any time we did have free time we were like “LET’S PLAY A GAME!!!”.

Bill and Suzanne invited us all over for dinner at their house and pickleball. We had tacos and then drove to the court and they taught us how to play. We were hooked! Especially Rosemarie. We played until it was too dark to see anything. Rosemarie asked when they were going to play again and they said “Tomorrow!”.

So we drove all the way back to Constance Bay and played again the next day. :D

We went to the Nordik Spa at night with Jackie which felt fantastic after all the work at the house and pickleball. It was awesome going with Jackie because 1. she’s like a spa expert and 2. we hadn’t hung out with her in ages!! The spa was great. I was surprised that there was an area that you could bring your drink right into the water. Crazy. We stayed at the spa for a loooong time, soaking and plunging, exfoliating with salt, broiling ourselves etc. (sounds like cooking a turkey, doesn’t it). We had a nice spa dinner too. The only thing we didn’t do was try the heated hammocks!

The next day I went to the gym and Rosemarie and Scott tried indoor pickleball. (I tell you, Rosemarie was obsessed.)

The next day was crazy busy. We went and saw Helenka again (post-babbies, although sans-babbies because they were in the NICU), ate another shawarma and poutine, and then drove back out to Constance Bay again to… you guessed it…. play some more pickleball. :D Then we came home, cooked hot pot for a quick family dinner, and then went bouldering with Sarah, and then met up with Sara for a drink. Whew.

PS that poutine, with the exorbitant amount of gravy and cheese curds, made me feel sooo sick, despite Lactaid. :( I feel un-Canadian.

Our final night in Ottawa we went to a Sens game with Stephko. It was one of the last games of the season and had no consequences in regards to the play-offs, but was still exciting because there were a lot of goals and even went into overtime for maximum drama.

Again, more pictures that you probably already saw on Facebook:

Kind of old news at this point but for posterity…

I think I was still a bit dopey from the flight…

Had to wake up though because Rosemarie and Lauren picked us up from the airport in Vancouver and we went directly to Liz’s house in North Van to host a party. Rosemarie prepared lots of Canadian treats for us like perogies, Smartfood popcorn, Canada Dry, party mix and lots of our Vancouver friends showed up! Thanks Liz for letting us stay there!

The next morning we headed back to the airport (via Duffins Donuts ofc) to fly to Ottawa. This is the last picture with Lauren for a while because we had all sorts of problems.

First our flight out of Vancouver was delayed. The lovely Westjet agent tried to help fix up our flights for us but since we had booked on three different tickets he was only able to get Scott on I on a new route via Calgary before that flight filled up, and had to keep Rosemarie and Lauren on the original flight to Toronto that might not make the connection to Ottawa. He offered to switch us back so that we could at least stay together but Rosemarie told us to go ahead and we’d just cross our fingers. Amazing Race style.

The way the flights were staggered we wouldn’t find out if they made it until much later. Poor MEP and Paul had to stay up all night waiting for us and didn’t even know how many of us they would be picking up from the airport.

Scott and I got to Calgary no problemo. But then we saw messages from Rosemarie saying that they didn’t let Lauren on the plane in Vancouver because his ID was expired and that he had to go home. Team member down! And that her connection in Toronto was looking TIGHT.

Scott and I got to Ottawa late but relatively successfully. But then we found out that Rosemarie didn’t make her connection, had to stand in line for hours to get her free hotel, and had to wake up very early to get her new flight the next morning. Which also ended up being delayed because they couldn’t close the luggage compartment door. Poor Rosemarie. Her team definitely lost Amazing Race.

Anyway eventually we all (well… three of us) made it to Mary Ellen’s and dad came over and of course we played some games. Yay.

That night we went to the Haberl’s for a good old fashioned sleepover. It was great. We played lots of games and ate lots of food and laughed a lot. A very lovely time.

3/4 Ace Gang Reunion. Unfortunately Cassia didn’t make it because of Spanish bureaucracy. We got lucky even seeing Helenka… she ended up having her twins very early, a few days after this brunch!!

Scott trying to catch some maple sap to see if it tasted like maple syrup (it does!).

Things relaxed (a bit) after the first few days of the trip. We spent some time hanging out at MEP and Paul’s.

Sweaty after doing a HIIT class.

I managed to keep up my training while away. My coach made me a commercial gym friendly leg strength program that was basically max squats all the time. Sometimes Rosemarie and Scott came with me, and sometimes they did other random classes or played pickleball. I am glad they get along so well.

Jill had another memorial party for Joe that just happened to fall when we were in Ottawa. It was nice to see a lot of people I hadn’t seen in ages. And the canapes and cookie favours were delicious!

We started to go through some of the stuff at the house. I think Cassia made me that poster when I was about to leave for university. D’awww.

Same pictures that I already posted on Facebook/Instagram:

L: Lemon Pie – vanilla soft serve, lemon curd, toasted coconut crumble, graham crackers

R: Red Rapture – vanilla soft serve, red velvet cake, cream cheese icing, raspberry puree, meringue crumble

The ice cream was kinda bland. I actually thought it was ultra trendy “milk flavour” until I looked back at the menu online. Not much vanilla going on there. Also, needs more lemon curd! The toppings are nice and all, but they’re only on the outside so it gets a bit boring towards the end.

Sweet Jesus Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Our whole trip was planned around being home for Canada Day. Since it was the big century-and-a-half, we thought it was going to be an especially good party. We were basically in Ottawa visiting everyone and the cottage the week before, downtown all day for Canada Day, and then flew out early on July 2nd. Quick trip! Anyway the actual day ended up being very different than I expected, but super fun.

Kate got the cutest cookies.

We did a bit of touristy stuff downtown a few days before Canada Day, without all the crowds. Rose and Lauren went to the art gallery and Scott and I walked across the bridge to Quebec and back (Scott thought this was cool), watched some boats go up the locks, walked up and down Sparks Street (way more dead than I remembered), and had a drink at a pub to avoid yet another thunderstorm.

OK now actual Canada Day!

We started the day with pre-birthday cake, 7 Wonders, and waiting for the torrential rain to stop. Man it was damp.

Once it cleared up a bit we headed to Monica’s for BBQ #1. I hadn’t seen her in ages, so it was great to catch up. David got dropped off by Virginia and Peter, so I got to see all of them too! They were heading downtown as well so we actually got to get a ride downtown, which worked out very well.

Next stop was Joe’s Corner. Joseph (unpictured) had a great idea of declaring he would be in a certain spot downtown at a certain time on Canada Day, and anyone could come and meet him there and say Hi. So smart. And then to make it even better, Helenka realized that this would be a great place to meet up with us too, and it worked out perfectly.

OK we all knew that getting through security was going to make getting on to Parliament Hill more difficult than usual, but we did not expect THIS. Somewhere in the above picture is a line. It was chaos!! We also tried walking down to the other entrance, which did have a more distinct line, but it didn’t seem to be moving AT ALL, and we were hearing people say that the line was FIVE HOURS LONG.

Um nope.

At this point we gave up on trying to have a typical Canada Day consisting of lounging on a blanket on Parliament Hill listening to free concerts.

Instead we walked down to Sandy Hill for BBQ #2! We accidentally went the long way, but at least we got to see the Snowbirds fly over so it was mostly forgiven. Chris’s brothers’ friends were having a pig roast! There was free beer, snacks, pork, dessert… it was epic.

After gorging on pig we decided to accept Brenda’s invitation and pop in to see them at BBQ #3, also in Sandy Hill. I hadn’t seen her in yonks either. Joe was there too, and one of Helenka’s long lost friends from elementary school!

It looked like it was about to start raining again so we decided to leave before seriously overstaying our welcome and find a pub to take refuge for a while. Luckily there was a bar right around the corner that miraculously had space for all of us! It started raining pretty hard almost as soon as we sat down inside. Amazing. Even better, the bar was a student bar and extremely cheap. We had a few cheap drinks and a few snacks and watched the television recaps of the day so far while we waited for the rain to pass.

When it started to dry up we decided it was time to find our fireworks viewing place. We thought we’d walk towards Majors Hill Park, and just stop once it started to get too crowded. Maybe the rain had cleared everyone out, because we ended up walking straight into the park and found (we thought!) a pretty decent place to watch the fireworks, and only a short walk from where Mother Mother would perform.

We took turns watching the concert, getting poutine, and saving our fireworks spot. The area in front of the stage had turned into a complete mud pit, it was so messy. Everyone was walking around like zombies, trying (and failing) to keep their feet dry and not fall down. It was amusing. I got to see Mother Mother perform my favourite song (The Stand) and all was good.

Finally fireworks time! We thought we had the perfect view. Yes there were two trees off to the sides but we had a wide open space of sky right in front of us. Then the show started. And of course ALL OF THE FIREWORKS WERE BEHIND THE TWO TREES. I wasn’t even mad, it was HILARIOUS. I was crying with laughter hahahhaa.

After three minutes we decided to screw it and run back to the muddy field and watch from there. My shoes got soaked with mud but at least we got to see the fireworks, and they were great.

After the show ended we conga lined out of the park, in a very civilized manner (not sarcastic, it was actually so calm) and walked Helenka back to the buses and the rest of us back to Chinatown where dad and Kate had left her van. We got home, showered, and slept for a couple hours before getting up and heading to the airport for our long journey home. What a day.

I really wanted to try riverboarding ever since I heard about it from Helenka and Natasha.

I actually didn’t research it that much… I thought we would spend the day travelling down the river on our riverboards, occasionally going through rapids… basically a slightly more extreme lazy river experience.

Wrong!!

Rosemarie couldn’t find any thermoses to bring their coffee, but you can definitely always find a jar in our old house. :D

Eating pre-riverboarding snacks and getting eaten alive by mosquitoes.

Starting to get more nervous because apparently “no Scott can’t switch to regular white water rafting because it’s all booked up” actually means “we’re pretty much shut down and there is actually no white water rafting happening at all and your group are the only people here”.

Ah well, let’s get ready to go. Helmets and wetsuits, check!

Make wraps in the owners kitchen who is not there for some reason, check!

After a little bit of instructions, in to the water! First we went down a medium rapid. Some water was inhaled. But we did ok. They ask if we want to go down the bigger rapids… sure. Much water inhaled! Much stress! Much flipping upside down! Much bumping into the things! Much tiring! Rosemarie and Scott were traumatized because they spent a lot of time under the water.

Then instead of continuing down the river we had to paddle furiously to the side, climb out, and walk back up through the trees and rocks, wearing flippers!!

None of us really enjoyed the big rapids that much so instead we tried to get onto the standing wave. A few of us managed it, but only with the help of our three guides. One guide would go out first and get settled on to the wave and ready to catch us, and another guide would paddle out beside us and show us the angle we needed to get to the right spot/push us into position. Then the first guide would literally yank us back onto the wave when we rushed over it. Then when we fell off the wave, the third guide would paddle after us and make sure we made it back to the shore.

Groundboarding?

Resting. Everything was super super super tiring. Thank goodness we had the guides to push and pull us places when energy levels were plummeting. Everyone tried a few times to get on to the wave, while the other people watched/rested. The guides took no breaks.

Sarah did not care for the rapids hahaha. Instead she went down the very gentle side a couple times.

We did all go down the big rapids one more time at the end of the day. We were slightly more successful but only because the guides were shoving us into position hahahaha. They seriously did so much work for us.

Done for the day.

Back at home nursing injuries. Rosemarie banged up both ankles, and Scott smashed his knee on a rock. He also hit his face on a tree branch while hiking because he was looking down at his flipper feet. GOOD TIMES. We all had sore abs the next day too.

Helenka had fun, but I’m not sure any of the rest of us would actually go riverboarding again. It was so hard!!!