A Digested Holiday

The usual stumble out of the gate: I stuff the (suddenly new) car with the expensive merchandise of your average baby-on-tour and some flimsy plastic bags filled with our own worn clothes. Is this what the garage sale will look like, when I die? The heat and humidity are already killing me. Get away by nine. Despite the countless mixed cd's I've made for my wife, she has declined to bring along any music, and the radio alternates between noise and saccharin death. Somewhere on the 401 is an exit (is it 804?) with no features (gas station, restaurant, etc) whatsoever. It is simply a blank exit. I stare at it longingly.

Quebec, of course: rain, darkness, crushed ceilings of fog. It's the same every year. Our room in Riviere du Loup comes with access to an indoor pool and loads of corpulent French kids.

Second day driving. My ass has turned into brie. New Brunswick is: up hill, down hill, trees trees trees. Watch out for moose! The moose fences stalk you on either side, up and down the painted ribbons through the unenchanted forest.

Finally, the cottage. Now we just have to run around like brain-diseased maniacs setting things up. Wind, rain, have you seen Oona lately? Let's light a fire!

The next day we go into town to get groceries. I explain to Oona that mommy likes to do laps around the grocery store like a crazy person, grabbing items as fast as she can, thinking this will speed things up. It won't. Daddy has a list, and daddy will patiently roll up and down each aisle, looking at what's on sale, until that list is full. If it was left up to mommy, all we'd eat is Kraft Dinner and corn twists. Let's have a big fight in the grocery store!

The sun returns, and the days start piling on. Ocean, sand bars, swims, walks, drives along the coast. Oona charges the surf, eats her weight in sand. I work the barbecue like a short order cook who's going to be shot in the morning. I make a yellow ton of potato salad. C seems pretty happy. A litre of wine a day with a few beer chasers will do that, I guess. One day, when we have company, she starts doing laps around the cottage. "I smell septic!" she says. Turns out it was a pig farm a few miles away, aided by a strong wind.

On our second last day we go to Prince Edward Island, which is like a museum for white people and all things stretchy-neck. There's something about Anne of Green Gables as well, which the Japanese just fucking love.

Time to drive home. Stuff that car again. Have you seen Oona lately?

Sun sun, rain rain. In Montreal I read aloud a sign: pie nine. "That's peh neuf, you dumb bastard," C says.

Welcome home! After three weeks of being shut up like a pair of retarded sixth graders, the entire house -- now with more broken items! -- smells like the kitchens of those crazy old ladies from my paper route of so long ago. That is to say, it smells like cat piss. "So what happened with that expensive pheromone stuff you bought, that $150-a-bottle stuff you bought from the vet that was supposed to keep the cats from pissing all over the place?," I ask. "Not for three weeks!," she says.


  1. ah holidays! you can't live with them, you can't live without them. cabin time is great though and i can see you all had a wonderful time!
    i need another week, but ach ja. won't get it.

  2. Oh my, dear me...lol :-) Fun to read though.

  3. I didn't realise how much I missed reading your blog until now - my work colleagues think I am "up to no good" as I laugh loudly behind my PC.

    Love the pics too - what a difference a year makes, eh?

  4. I have a "vacation" coming up next week. Not so sure I want to go now. Say, if I go to Toronto for the week, will all of Toronto be at their cottage? Will I have the city to myself? Will fun outweigh futility?

  5. hoorayboo for cat piss. it says "the cats didn't die in our absence, but they did a good job showing how pissed they are at us for leaving"

  6. You've reminded me why I always travel alone, much as I love my loved ones.

  7. Anonymous9:06 pm

    Welcome Back! It looks like Oona really enjoyed her time at the shore. You've described it perfectly -- "ocean, sand bars, swims, walks ...". Oh wait. Maybe it was "a litre of wine a day and a few beer chasers" that sounded so familiar. See you soon. J and bri.

  8. Welcome back :)

  9. Susan -- Cabin! People are quite uptight about the word "cottage" down there. Also, it sounds like you need a Runaway-Mom-type escape!

    Sheri -- Thanks!

    Elle -- I know ... last year she was just this cloudy idea.

    Kim -- I don't know if Toronto has the same cottage mania as other parts of the country ... it might be reserved for the luxury-SUV class. Have a good visit!

    Lora -- I'm *so* disappointed in you.

    Eryl -- Now you're talking about a *true* vacation. How civilized.

    Janet -- Thanks. And, believe it or not, I actually achieved one or two naps somewhere in there (whereas C snored her way through most afternoons, muttering in her sleep about last call).

    Kaz -- Thank you. That's a great new picture!

  10. oh dear god, i loved this. thank you.

  11. oh my, what a picture you have painted with words. Some new maps/routes needed? I have plenty of road maps to my fears too - ho hum!


  12. It sounds like you stalked me on our last vacation - it sounds so familiar on our trip to PEI!

  13. New Brunswick! PEI! Jeez, you were on my home turf. I presently live in NB and adore visiting PEI. I've enjoyed browsing through your art, but as I am a newcomer to your blog and haven't read your posts I didn't realize what a comedian you are. Oh, it wasn't meant to be funny?

  14. I'm with Eryl - getting away on your own is the best.

    Good to see you back safe hough x

  15. 婚姻對男人來說是賭他的自由,對女人而言卻是賭她的幸福。.................................................................

  16. I agree with 淑娟淑娟淑娟.

    No pains no gains.


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