Sunday, June 17, 2007

Great week, gross weather

I'm back! Mom & Dad flew home yesterday, so my time is my own again. I loved having them here, though. The hubby worried before we moved here that I wouldn't be happy without my parents nearby, and I although very much was, home is still wherever they are, as much as I love living in other places for a change. Maybe I'm not quite grown up yet, or maybe I've got some kind of complex that psychologists would have a field day with, but being independent can never take precedence for me over being close to my family, and not just my parents, but all of my aunts & uncles & cousins & my grandmother too. Hence the reason I'm so excited that there are about a dozen universities in the GTA that I can do my PhD at!

Mom & Dad got in on Sunday morning, and we spent the afternoon poking around downtown and by the harbour, and then had dinner at The Cellar. My sister has been raving about their calamari since she visited in November, so they were desperate to try it out. They also came over to see the apartment; of course Mom had to bug me about how I keep things, but no one runs a house the way their mother does, and she's still getting used to the idea of me being out on my own. Those maternal instincts, man; they serve you well, but they drive your children crazy. We didn't end up spending much time around here though because a) my apartment is kind of boring and the jackhammering doesn't make it the most appealing place to relax and b) Mom & Dad got upgraded to a gorgeous suite at the Lord Nelson with a big living room and an amazing bed, so we spent our downtime there. It ended up turning into a sleepover party most nights, because the couch was a pullout and it was much more fun to stay there. That and the newspapers and coffee and turn-down service. Could I just move there?

The weather was awful all week, just as it was the perfect week in Toronto, but there was nothing we could do but deck ourselves in rain gear and do what we had planned to do. And we did a lot: Peggy's Cove, Lunenburg, Mahone Bay, Chester, the ferry, the Citadel, the Public Gardens, the harbour, Pier 21. Mahone Bay was lovely, but Lunenburg was too touristy and Chester was too small (I'm sounding like the Three Bears here.) We did the Citadel tour, which was fascinating; however, our guide was a mite loquacious, although his kilt was very becoming. We also got to see the artillery-men (who dress like bellboys, although apparently their uniforms came first, and you don't want to insinuate that they didn't, as they are artillery-men after all) fire the noon cannon. Dad's already deaf in one ear, so he didn't mind it, but man it was loud! They don't let you sit too close to the edge of the wall in case you startle and fall off. And, lo and behold, you could hear the jackhammering at my apartment all the way from the top of Citadel Hill! The view of the harbour is gorgeous, though.

Pier 21 was one of the best things that we did this week. My grandmother came here as a war bride in June of 1946 and landed at Halifax, but she hasn't been back since. She was in the British Army, my grandfather was in the Canadian, and after a very brief courtship and a few false starts, they married and settled in Mississauga. Inside Pier 21 is a research centre where you can look up all sorts of information about anyone that you know who landed here. We didn't really know exactly when Nanny came or what ship she was on, but luckily she was home, so we called her and found out. It makes me so glad that she's still around (she's 87) to tell us about the earlier parts of her life. I'm going to sit her down with a tape recorder sometime soon and get her to tell me everything she can, because that's the kind of information that you don't want to lose. I've heard the story of how she met Granddad a few times, and I know that it's a fantastic one, and one that I want to write one day, but I'm going to have to get her to tell it again so that I can catch all of the details. In '46, Nan came over on The Lady Nelson, and we got her a framed picture of the ship, as well as lots of information about it. They even have a model of it in the museum upstairs; it was a hospital ship that transported war brides and wounded men, and was in service in Egypt until 1982. I was really impressed by how helpful the archivists at Pier 21 were, and how much they seemed to love their jobs. It really made my day. Dad was just in his element at the Citadel and Pier 21. As much as he's great at his job now (he's the national manager of a heavy equipment company, something like Cat), he would have been an even better high school history teacher, and he just loves the history of the city and our family.

Most nights after our adventures, the three of us just hunkered down and watched a movie or HGTV or read a book. I have to say, as much as I like not having cable because I don't spend time watching useless TV, I do miss me my HGTV. However, I think I got my fill this week. Really makes me excited to find our own place that we can decorate soon, though! This week felt a lot like a normal week back home, but with more field trips and eating out, and it was exactly what I needed. I think it was exactly what my parents needed too. My Dad kept calling this week "the honeymoon they never had." My parents have been married for 25 years (26 in July), and this is the first time that they have been on a non-family vacation. Well, a semi non-family vacation, as I didn't actually travel with them. I'm not sure how it qualified as a honeymoon with me asleep on the sofa bed half the week, but the sentiment is sweet anyway. I'm glad that they had a chance to spent time together without the pressures of work and Hayley and the house. Of course, they came home to dead plants, as Hayl didn't water anything, and a new roof going in on Tuesday, but that's life!

Watching Mom & Dad leave yesterday afternoon was awful (and as much as Dad tells me not to mope, I can't help it sometimes), but I'm promising myself that I'll be home in six weeks. I don't know how realistic that is, but that's what I'm telling myself, and if it's at all possible, that's what I'm going to do. I am well known in family circles for being bloody stubborn, so that must count for something. I'm determined to finish Chapter One by Tuesday. Seven pages to go.