Donair & Lobster

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Donair pizza and lobster for supper. It doesn’t get much more New Brunswicky than that.

Except the beer. I should have been drinking Alpine instead of Stella. All the years in Ontario have rusted my maritimer ways. On the other hand, my lobster appreciation is a new development. Paradox.

And what’s a trip to New Brunswick without ferries and lighthouses.

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New Brunswick Weekend Part Four: My Ten Month Old Might Be a Terrorist

Technically, the weekend (see parts one, two, and three) was long over by the time we were headed back to Ontario, but I had to share this one last anecdote.

Heading through airport security with an infant for the second time. We’re pros. Laptops out of bags, kid out of stroller, stroller off to the side for the security guy. I head through the scanner, followed by hubby holding baby.

Hubby’s number is up. He’s been selected to be swabbed for explosive material. Fine, I step up assuming I’ll be wanted to take the baby.

By the time I’m in reach, the guy is swabbing the baby’s hands. Not his clothes. His hands. I’m so dumbfounded I don’t even think to ask: What exactly did you just rub all over by baby’s hands that he’s now got in his mouth?

Even if my husband and I were terrorists, what exactly is the picture being imagined here? Evil husband and wife duo making bombs in their lair. Tangled red and blue wires, smoking soldering irons, bubbling beakers…and a baby playing with C-4 in the corner??

Or maybe they think the baby in sneaking out of his crib at night and getting up to all kinds of mischief.

The test was negative. Phew, I guess we dodged that bullet.

New Brunswick Weekend Part Three: Poe Meets Seuss

The back-to-nature aspects of our trip (see part one and part two) didn’t end with our return to my parents’ place.

My parents don’t farm, fish, or raise chickens. But they have neighbours who do (raise chickens at least, not sure about the fishing). Occasionally, when these neighbours are away, my parents take on the task of caring for the chickens. This includes making sure they all go into the hen house for the night. Back from the wedding, I decided to join the party. Who doesn’t want to wrangle chickens.

Here’s a picture of the pen. Yes, that would be a dead crow hanging over it.

I know it would be more Poe if it were a raven. Close enough.

Apparently, crows were terrorizing the chickens. The owner of the chickens sought revenge. He shot a crow and hung it out as a warning to the other crows.

It turns out, this is exactly how to deal with menace crows. I’m told, shortly after the above crow went on display, the powerlines filled with every crow within flying radius. They had a wake for their departed friend. Not sorry I missed that.

Then the murder (so apt they’re called that) of crows flew off and not one has been seen near the coop since. I wish I’d known this trick back when crows were tearing apart my garbage every single garbage day. I’ve filed the info away, hoping I’ll never have to use it.

As for the chickens themselves, getting them to go to bed was no easy task. Brooms, sticks, boards, and my brother in law with a chunk of mesh fence running around in circles, and most of the chickens were still outside.

These ones were the biggest assholes:

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I thought they were adolescents (it would fit their behaviour), but nope. That’s a fully grown chicken. And she’s supposed to look like that. They are my niece’s favorite. I suspect she can tell they belong in a Dr. Seuss book. Oh The Chickens You Will Chase.

New Brunswick Weekend Part Two: Uncle Tom’s Teeny Tiny Horse

If concerns over deer in the ditch on one’s wedding day (see part one) weren’t enough to highlight the differences between the ‘big city’ and, well, anywhere in New Brunswick:

As is often done, the morning after the wedding the bride’s family hosted a brunch to feed the out of towners and give everyone a chance to watch the bride and groom open gifts. Around noon, stuffed with homemade pastries and fresh-picked strawberries, we (me, husband, and another New Brunswick-native friend) were on our way out the door of the no-longer-in-use church serving as dining area. We crossed paths with the groom’s father.

“Hey, you guys going to see Uncle Tom’s horse?”

Say what? (not sure if words came out, or if we communicated through facial contortions)

“Uncle Tom just got a miniature horse, a bunch of us are going to see. I’ll be leading the way if you want to come along.”

“Um…sure, why not.”

We hopped in the car joined the convoy to Uncle Tom’s barn—His name isn’t Tom. I can’t remember his name and tend to avoid using real names on my blog anyway. Actually, since I can’t remember his name, it may very well be Tom. But that would just be a funny coincidence.

Down the road we went, through the trees, past the massive wood pile, and into the narrow dirt driveway leading up to a large red barn. Half a dozen or so vehicles maneuvered and parked. The crowd squeezed into the barn, which is home to a number of definitely-not-tiny horses. I edged out of the kicking range of an animal whose ass was a foot or two over my head.

When my turn at the front of the crowd came, I saw this:

Awww, I still can’t believe that’s a horse. Not quite fully grown, we were told. But still, I didn’t know they came that small. Pretty cool to see.

New Brunswick Weekend Part One: The Chandelier and the Deer

Canada Day weekend this year featured a close friend’s wedding. Kiddo stayed with Grammie and Grampie while the parents took off for two days. It was his first night away from his parents. I’m not sure he noticed.

The wedding was in New Brunswick, as are pretty much all of my relatives. We took the opportunity to squeeze in as mush family time as we could. Our to-date-overly-sheltered child met two cousins and three second cousins ranging in age from 9 months to 7 years, survived his first and second plane rides (less than two hours each, phew), and came up close and personal with a dog for the first time (we’re cat people). He took it all like a champ.

Back to the weekend in a moment. First, a little background:

It would seem I make mistakes in twos. In all the years I’ve driven a car, I’ve squished the front fender/bumper twice. Once was while navigating an underground parking garage for the first time. The victim was a concrete pillar; it fared much better than my fender.

The second incident occurred as I was backing out of a parking space after getting a belt replaced at the dealer (yes, I went to the dealer). Whoever had parked my car after it was serviced parked it with about two inches to spare on either side. Being the novice driver I was, it didn’t occur to me to ask for a ground guide out of this tight space though I really could have used one. I kissed bumpers, rather aggressively, with the car parked next to mine. It turned out to be the dealership manager’s car.

He was very nice about it. Luckily, plastic bumpers are very flexible on a hot summer day.

I’ve also gone off the road twice. The first time I blame wet snow and ice (and me for trying to drive on the wet snow and ice). The second time was due to the hubris that comes just when one starts to become pretty good at driving. I have no one and nothing to blame but myself for that one. No injuries and, miraculously, no other cars involved. So, a valuable lesson at not too high a price. Two lessons, actually. One: Don’t changed lanes on a corner; Two: Time really does slow down when you think you’re about to die.

Then there were the teapots. My mother has this very nice set of Denby dishes that I recall fondly from Christmas dinners and other special occasions throughout my childhood. She’s missing the teapot. Because I put it on the stove and it exploded. Did you know you can’t put ceramic dishes on direct heat?

Some years later, Mom found another teapot in the discontinued pattern to replace the one I destroyed. There was much rejoicing. Then…

…I was home for a visit. I, for what reason I can’t remember, needed something from the top shelf in the cupboard. I should mention, I’m too short to see much of the top shelf. I reached up, felt around until I found what I was looking for, and started to pull it out of the cupboard—unaware of the large bag of sugar in my path.

The sugar fell from the top shelf to the counter. The replacement teapot attempted to brake its fall. Neither survived.

Mom now has a stainless steel teapot.

Next we have the chandelier. I was about twelve, I think. My sister and I were playing a board game. Quite amicably as I recall, but in the heat of a joking conflict (and yes it really was a joke—this time) I lifted the game board over my head as though I was going to hit her with it. There was a smash. Glass showered down around me. I’d hit one of the lamps on the dining-room chandelier. Turned out they didn’t make replacements anymore. Oops.

This brings us back to the New Brunswick weekend, more than two decades later (see where this is going?). Prior to the wedding ceremony, the other bridesmaids and I were with the bride at her parents’/brother’s house getting ready. No he isn’t one of those 30-somthings living in his parents’ basement. He’s got a job and everything. From what I understand, the parents live in an add-on apartment when they’re not travelling the continent in their RV.

Anyhow, the clothes I’d changed out of were hanging in a garment bag in the kitchen. On my way to grab them, I realized I’d forgotten my bridesmaid gift in the parents’ living room. By this time, everyone else was on their way out to the father-of-the-bride’s truck to head to the church. Not wanting to be the one to hold things up, I went into hurry-up mode with a corresponding little shot of adrenaline.

Garment bag in hand, I rushed into the living room. I bent over to grab my gift bag while simultaneously trying to keep the garment bag off the floor. Not sure why I cared to do that. My subconscious must have thought there was still a dress in there that needed protection from wrinkles. As adrenaline goes up, situational awareness goes down. Particularly, awareness of the chandelier hanging from the already low ceiling. This time, I got a shower of glass stones as the hanger in my hand made contact.

Adrenaline really spiking now, I picked up as many stones as I could see. They appeared undamaged. A few options ran through my mind. The fix-it part of me said ‘you can probably put them back on the chandelier’—wedding in twenty minutes, no time for that. The ten year old in me said ‘hide the stones, by the time they notice you’ll be long gone’—cue image of these nice people discovering their damaged property later that night and wondering what asshole would do such a thing. Dammit.

I put the stones on the coffee table and made my way out to the truck. Before I could talk myself out of it, I fessed up to the father of the bride. Of course, he was very nice about it. Off to the church we went.

One the bright side, it seems two is the magic number for a lesson stick in my brain. My big car mistakes all occurred within the first year I owned my first car. No car repairs have been the result of my incompetence since (did I just jinx myself?). I’ve owned the same two teapots for going on ten years now, and haven’t broken anyone else’s. All signs point to future chandeliers being safe in my company. But I might steer clear of them just in case.

In the truck, on the way to the church, the bride turned to her dad and said: “Did they get the dead deer out of the ditch?”

Doesn’t every bride ask her dad that on the way to her wedding? Or is that only in New Brunswick? At least, it put the chandelier’s demise in perspective.