Monday 3 February 2014

Vive le Quebec

Big day today:  I brought the three munchkins to the Snowflake Kingdom at Jacques Cartier park, in Hull.  We didn't bring our passports, but bravely drove the 6 minutes from our house, over the bridge, and found a nice, free parking spot just a short walk from the festivities.  

I didn't see the foreshadowing when I pulled up in a snowy (about 6 inches) section, behind a snowed-in car, backed up a bit to make sure I'd be able to get out, and a Jeep pulled up beside me.  A man jumped out, and said, "Are you stuck?"  And I smiled and said, "No.  I'm in a Volvo!"  He waved, said, "That's why I love my Jeep!"  We high-fived (ok, we didn't really, but it would have been totally appropriate), and off he went.  

I got the kids out, loaded up Miss Tamsin into her chariot (a wee little blue sled that had once belonged to the Vaughnster), and off we went.  

We go to the Snowflake Kingdom every year.  There's a small jungle gym, some ice slides, some Ice Hog mascots (really, they're Groundhogs wearing sweaters), some neat cultural stuff (native and Quebecois history), and, of course, la pièce de résistance, Beavertails.

This year was a bit more challenging, and not just because of the addition of a third small-but-big-and-heavy child, although she did leave me with one less hand to hold.  Chris doesn't usually come with, so it's a nice, laid-back, walk-around-and-see-stuff kind of outing.  We met up with a friend and her son, who was on a mission:  he wanted to find the skiing station.  I'd never heard of it, but was game... but wanted to See Stuff on the way to find it.  Like the Native woodworker and his snowshoes and sleds, which Vaughn and I questioned with interest (and his wolf pelts, too).  Like the snow artist intricately carving a massive, 2-story block of snow with what looked like a leaf-blower.  Like tubing down an ice slide, and then hauling the tubes back up the hill with kids inside them (hello, glutes!).  We did, finally, find the skiing display, which was only for 5 to 8 year-olds.  Resilient Ailsa took it very well - you can't fight age -- and we left Vaughn to wait with Amanda and Alex, and took Beavertail orders (it was getting on lunchtime, after all, and I hate lineups). We picked up some cinnamon sugar and Killaloe Sunrises, and went back to eat the treats together.  Their group was just about to go in, and as the boys started forward, the guide finally answered my repeated question:  How long will this take?

One hour.

Yikes.  Tamsin and Ailsa can be lovely and patient, but another hour?  With no real food?  Amanda amazingly offered to stay with the boys and bring Vaughn home later.  I'm pretty sure that I left a cloud of snow behind me as I dashed away.

Ailsa didn't want to go on any more ice slides (rats - I love those), but was keen on trying out the giant snow maze.  We bought tickets, and away we went... I expected a nice little walk together, still pulling Tamsin in the sled.  She handed the tickets to the lady, smiled at me, and ... ran as fast as she could!  "You can't follow me, Mommy!" she directed, and told me to turn down a different path.  The maze was well set up, so that you could always see the rest of the maze, so I wasn't worried about losing her, but it was very twisty and turny - each time I got close to an opening that would lead me to her, she'd laugh and run another way.  We spent about 10 minutes in there, before heading back out the way we came, but the woman pretended that we weren't allowed out.  "You have to find the exit!"  

Tamsin decided she'd had enough, and climbed out of the sled.  Ailsa climbed in.  I handed her my purse, picked up Tamsin, and ...ended up back where we started again.  I put Tamsin down, picked Ailsa up, and ... got turned around again!  Finally, we found our way out.  Ailsa gave the volunteer a great big high five, then turned to me.  "My legs hurt, Mommy."  

You and me both, kid.  

The walk back to the car wasn't too long, but we were cold and tired.  And then I saw our car.

The snow is a nice touch, n'est-ce pas?

The plow jerkface had come by in the 2 hours I was gone, pushed a million pounds of snow up over my bumper, and kept going.  I had left about a foot between me and the car in front of us, and ... well, that was my only hope.  I loaded the girls up, put the sled in the trunk (had to slide it in through the backseat, of course), and took a photo, mostly to show Chris, but now I'm thinking of filing a formal complaint with the city.  This can't be legal.  A family walked by, shaking their heads.  "Do you have a shovel?" they asked.  "No, but I'm borrowing that one" -- I indicated one leaning against a house close by -- "if I need to."  They gave me some encouragement and kept walking.  

I took a deep breath, got in the car, and shifted into reverse.  Nothing, as I expected.  I put it in drive, cranked the wheel, eased forward, and ... I moved!  I cranked the wheel the other way, backed up a little more, and then... I drove away.  Just like that.

About half a block away, the same family was still trudging to their car.  The father turned around and gave me a big thumbs up as I drove past.  I honked the horn, and shouted, "Woo-hoo!"

Vive le Volvo!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


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