Monday, February 16, 2009

A Deadly Combo.

Friday the 13th smacks of superstition, foreboding and has a general sense spookiness about it. As it was in February this year, it was sort of like a mini Halloween in the dead of winter and I was looking forward to it. The next day was Valentines and that has never been one of my strong-suit holidays. And quite frankly, I don’t think of it as a holiday, I know Hallmark does, but I don’t.

Similar to mother, I find the cards, red plush teddy bears and the sentiment they are supposed to convey, well, cheap. I have never been good at planning for it or delivering the “perfect” gift. Christmas and birthdays I think I do a decent job of matching personality to present, but Valentines has been my Achilles heel when it comes to ‘holidays’

Last year was one of the better ones. Four of us single boys headed out for heart shaped pizza at Boston Pizza. No pressure for a gift or any grand romantic gesture, just show up and eat.

But this year, IronMan inspired me to give it the old college try and I know I have no one to blame but myself for the less than perfect results. I planned – I knew exactly what I wanted to get. Two out of three gifts were purchased when and where I had hoped. The third however would prove to be my downfall. I needed to go downtown to get what I was after but didn’t find a need to go before Friday night.

Easy enough I thought, after I teach my yoga class, I will stop in on my way to IronMan’s, wrap in the car and I would be done. That morning my plan started to unravel. Liza’s low fuel indicator started to flash on the way to work. “No worries” thought I, many a time I have gone to work and home with that happening. I would simply stop on the way home and gas up.

This is where it will start to sound like I am blaming others, but trust me, I know this was all me.
My boss, true to form, bumped our 2:30 – 3:30 meeting to 3:00 and then asked for another 10 minutes, 15, 20 etc. In the end, I left work an hour later than planned which made me rush to the Moksha studio. Class over, I invited people to stay in final resting “as long as they wanted”. Usually, that is about 5 minutes but not this night. Nooooo, I had a snoozer. Not wanting to go in a gather my music, mat etc, I waited without giving it much thought. I would just call IronMan and tell him I would be late.

Then it hit me, the store I wanted to go to would surely close at 9:00 on a Friday. The panic started. As soon as my last student was out of the room, I gathered my things and headed for Liza. I still needed to head home and grab my bag before heading out. The little gas tank flashed at me again as I headed home. I kissed Liza’s steering wheel and asked her to make it. She obliged and I was soon running upstairs, stuffing a last few things in my bag and I was gone. 30 minutes before closing, no time for gas.

Liza seemed in good spirits, 680 News said the Gardiner was smooth sailing and I knew there was a gas station on Jarvis. I was confident I would make it. Things were going great until I hit Dunn Avenue. Liza sputtered – just a little and she kept going….

Easing up the hill, she sputtered again. Once up on the flat top of the Gardiner she seemed fully recoverd. But then things quickly began to slow down. Luckily she managed to make the top of the Spadina ramp. I eased into the bull nose, put on my hazards and cursed. Foolishly I tried starting her again but it was all for nothing. Liza was staying put until she had some liquid refreshment.

Spadina to Jarvis, north to Wellington and back, would be at least an hour. My cell phone would have saved me… or it would have if it wasn’t in my work bag at home….and if it had credit on it….oh dear.

Locking Liza, I ran down the off ramp trying to look inconspicuous….not an easy thing to do. As I got to the bottom my biggest fear was that the people sitting at the red light would think I was panhandling. I spied a cab a leapt for joy! An hour my fanny…he can whip me there and back in 5 minutes.

Climbing into the back of the taxi I asked him if he knew of a gas station that was close by. As it turned, there were two that I had completely forgotten about, a Shell and Petro-Canada just over the hill north of Front Street.

With $4.25 in my $8 gas can, the nice cabbie dropped me at the foot of the off ramp. As I ran back up, my throat burned from the cold and exhaust fumes. I am pretty sure I tasted blood. Would Liza be there? Would she have been towed? Would there be a police officer there ready to hand me a ticket for being a spaz? Would someone have hit her?

Luckily, she was just as I left her. Lights blinking and gas tank empty. She was soon gassed up and ready to go. We made it to IronMan’s much later than he had expected us. I gave him his flowers and told him my story. He gave me a hug and told me it was alright. Then he made me some tea to warm my bones and some dinner to keep me from passing out.

It was a good adventure for a cold Friday the 13th , but I still am not a big fan of Valentines

Thursday, February 12, 2009

This Year's Death Sport

Well I could hardly leave you hanging without finishing the snowboarding story….. so here it is. Last year, Fauntleroy talked me into ski-skating and this year, a few weekends back, all the three Mitchells, their partners and kids managed to get together at Sir Sam’s for a day of snowboarding.

IronGirl had tried to weasel out of it claiming it was going to be too cold. But after being called a wuss by the 6 Foot Horse (the other one), she relented and agreed to go. All reports did call for a frigid miserable day but it turned out to be sunny and there was no wind. So while cold, it was quite pleasant if appropriately attired.

All but Red Wine and I were proficient at either skiing or snowboarding and were soon scattered around on the various hills and slopes. Wisely, the two of us opted for a lesson before attempting the main runs. I can’t recall the technical terms, but we were soon gliding back and forth across the snow, digging our heels in or tipping our toes down to control speed.

The biggest challenge was doing an S-turn. I found coming back around quite easy, but it was that first turn, when your lead foot is facing down the hill and the speed picks up that was nerve racking. But if you could not panic for that split second the front of your board would come about and all slowed down to a reasonable pace.

Our lesson was two hours and then the troops rallied around us as we descended the hills solo. Aside from a snow job from the 6 Foot Horse, I was doing just fine. Any falls were of my own choosing and relatively soft. I found stationary items, trees for example, quite easy to get around.

My challenge was a moving target. As I was heading down the hill, I spotted a group of five teenage girls gathered on a flat spot. That is another thing about snowboarding; it is like a middle-school dance. All the boys stick together and so do the girls. Even in the chalet at lunch, the flock together. Some things never change. Anyway…..

Among their group was a novice like myself, and her friends were trying to help her with some tips on how to move. At least that is what I surmise. The whole lot of them were meandering down the hill like molasses running through a cold pipe. In my mind I pictured myself taking out one or two of them as I went shooting through, so I thought it best to fall.

This one was neither gentle, graceful nor by choice really. Falling backwards I was sure my wrists had snapped, yoga career over I feared, and my butt felt like it had been ripped a new one. IronMan was soon at my side trying to sooth me when it started.

When someone has a heart attack, is really scared or in an accident etc. apparently they lose control of their bowels and presto, Bob’s your uncle. Luckily, I am very regular and my morning routine had cleaned my out. Otherwise I fear there would have been more than my pride smeared across that mountain. I tooted once, and then couldn’t stop.

I wanted a hug and soothing words but at the same time did not want my audience subjected to such un-ladylike behaviour. Luckily, long-johns and a pair of pants encased in snow-pants seem to have muffled the majority of the offenders and I focused on complaining about my wrists.

“Ohhhhh you should have worn wrist guards” IronMan said.

I wanted to scream “now you tell me!” but was too busy laughing at all the tooting I was doing and apparently could not stop. Not even by speaking louder (that’s for you KitKat).

The only other time I had gone boarding was in Whistler and when I feel there the snow was so deep it was like falling on a pillow. If I had know such pain was possible, I would have indeed had wrist guards, and a butt guard too!

No harm no foul really. My wrists are still a bit sore now and then but I actually really want to go boarding (as the kids call it) again. Only next time, it will be where the have softer snow!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

It was a dark and stormy night....

Once again I find myself in the unenviable position of having to apologize for being a tardy writer. It is not that I have not been busy, no! I have many a story to regale you with. There has been tiling going on, chairs have been reupholstered, halls painted, pictures framed and many other home happenings to share with you.

Thanks to KitKat’s library, I also have many an interesting tip on the history of food. If you liked the Ms. Beeton entries, you will truly love these.

There is also a particularly funny flatulence laden snowboarding story that I shall share with you next. But tonight I feel the NEED to write about our weather. All day people at work have complained about how foggy, wet and damp it is. Not a week ago there were moans and groans about how cold it was. My goodness, there are no pleasing some people.

Aside from the fact that this is NOT February weather, and makes me wonder just how bad a shape our planet is in, I have to say I am enjoying it immensely. Walking to my car tucked under my Harrod’s umbrella, I couldn’t help but think about Holmes and Watson stealing off into the night on some great caper.

I looked forward to getting home after class and curling up under my fur blanket with a good mystery novel and some port. Alas, I am not drinking this month, but am still excited about the adventure that awaits me between the covers of the Hound of the Baskervilles. I have read it before, but on a night like this, when you can look out the window at the fog and mist, it makes it extra delicious.

But first, there is a steak to BBQ and squash to bake. Perhaps a splash about in the Wellingtons after would be nice. So many choices! Until next time, I bid you a good evening!