Tuesday 6 August 2013

Home again, home again, jiggety jog

In the past two weeks, I have taken two weekends off.

As in, off from my life, my family, my kids.

And it was awesome.

First, I had the somewhat-annual Girls' Weekend, this time in and around Halifax!  It was lovely, relaxing, and calming.  Ok, except for the fear-leading-up-to-the-ocean-kayaking-portion-of-the-trip.  That part sucked.

Let me back up.
Me and Theodore Too at the Halifax Waterfront.
Vaughn asked me if I heard him "really talking".  Unfortunately, he was too busy taking kids around the harbour to ask him myself, so I just got a quick photo and found a storybook to bring home.

I may have admitted to a slight moderate completely crippling fear of sharks in the past.  Ha!  I faced my fear!  I conquered it!  I... no, I didn't.  I sobbed and shook and ended up in close proximity to a shark, which, for some reason, didn't eat me, but that did little to convince me that I was overreacting.  I mean, it probably had just eaten another small-but-stringy person and was too full to look my way.  Flash forward 6 years or so, and I'm super-excited at the prospect of a morning of ocean kayaking, followed by meditation on an island somewhere, followed by tea.  Happy sigh.  That is, until the night before we left.

"Hey, are there sharks around Halifax?"  I asked.

A smart, kind* friend would have said, "No," denied it vigorously, and made sure that I couldn't google anything before we went.  My friend Lisa (whom I love dearly) said, "Yes, but they're around the corner from where we'll be."

Oh!  That's all right, then.  Everyone knows that sharks don't swim around corners!?!

So, I was kind of gaspy and panicky, but said I'd try my best.  And then proceeded to have a few glasses of wine.

The next morning, 6:45 am came early.  After all, it was my one selfish weekend per year, and getting up before 7 really didn't fit into my plans.**  But, I sprang out of bed, dragged myself to the car, and off we went.  The waiver didn't mention sharks, and when I asked the guide at ECO about them, he said, "Nope, never seen one."  (Aha!  A smart man!)

There were five kayakers and two guides.  Despite my efforts to appear brave and athletic, they suggested strongly that I choose a tandem kayak with Laurel.  I claimed the front, non-steering seat for the first leg of the journey, they gave us a quick tutorial, and away we went... into choppy waters.  Boy, am I glad that Laurel was responsible for the steering.  I was too busy trying to j-stroke, then trying not to j-stroke, because that's not how you kayak (apparently), to worry about directing us anywhere but wherever the boat, wind, and current wanted to take us.  I wasn't even thinking about sharks, it was such hard work!

We ended up getting corralled into a quiet little inlet while the guides discussed the weather conditions.  To my chagrine (but to my survival, apparently), they decided that the weather was too rough for beginners, and as soon as we went around the corner (probably the shark corner, come to think of it), it would be much, much worse.  So, we turned back, fairly exhausted, slightly disappointed, but still alive, and returned to a small, peaceful platform in the middle of nowhere to enjoy 20 minutes or so of meditation.

I was amazed not only that I was able to enjoy it, but that I was able to do it -- to turn my mind down, to concentrate on my breathing, to not fidget, and to actually just be.  It was lovely.  Afterwards, we talked about techniques for overcoming -- or at least dealing with -- fears, and I learned about EFT a wee smidge too late.  We practiced tapping the acupressure points and repeating soothing affirmations.  One of the other participants said, "It's one of those things that it doesn't matter if you believe in it or not; it just works."  Great!  Now if I could only have the presence of mind to try it when I'm paralyzed by fear, I'll be all set.

This should have been an epic photo of Lisa with a giant blue tongue.  Oh well.

The rest of the weekend was delightful and non-terrifying (though nutritionally horrifying), and I even had a lovely, if brief, visit with my grandmother before returning for three hectic days back at home...then Chris and I flew to Bathurst, New Brunswick for a wedding weekend.***

We didn't waste a minute of this one either.  It was a beautiful location for a beautiful couple to (finally) (hardy har) get married, and boy, were we spoiled.  From the cocktail party on Friday night, to the wedding proper on Saturday and the beach/pool/hot tub party on Sunday, I was repeatedly over-served, and was barely able to rally for the actual ceremony.  I tried a fun new technique called "hair of the dog", and I must say, I'm converted!  A bit worried, as it took three glasses of wine to make me feel human again, but converted nonetheless.

The gorgeous couple says their "I do's".
And no, I don't know how to make "I do's" grammatically correct, but I'm sure Captain Grammar will have the answer.

All this to say that I've had two blissful, freewheeling weekends of fun and frolic, but I was so ready to come home today (and not just for the detox, although that will figure strongly in the coming days).  Before we left for the airport (after the Zumba class, of course), Chris mentioned that, with the approaching thunderstorms, we might not make it home on time, and I got all teary.  All went well, though I didn't like sitting where I could watch the propeller turn on the little plane (too freaked out to remember to try EFT, as it turned out).  I have never been a nervous flier until this trip, oddly enough.

It felt so good to walk in my front door and have such big smiles from all three Hufflings.  And the hugs!  Mmm!  Tamsin's hair was thicker than when we left (was it only 4 days ago?), and she's almost crawling now.  She kept turning to look at me with a big smile on her face, as if to say, "It's you!  It's really YOU!"  And both big kids demanded extra hugs and kisses and babbled all over about how they went to the beach and rode on Grandpa's lawn tractor and ate McDonalds and held "really really sharp scissors".  Um, ok.  Poor Grandma and Grandpa went home (probably to lie still for the rest of the week), but they definitely earned it.  We owe them big time.

Not that I believe Dorothy had it completely right, but sometimes, even after the most wonderful experiences with incredible people, coming home is all you want.

Oh, and Laurel just sent me this link:  http://thechronicleherald.ca/novascotia/1145826-shark-encounter-just-like-jaws.


Tap tap tap.

*  Not an honest friend, but really, who wants an honest friend?

** Unlike the wee hangover I was experiencing, which was totally planned.

*** Ok, ok, I got two selfish weekends this year.

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