Adventures With Kids – Hockey

Hockey Season Starts Again

LMHA symbolWell, we’re just about to head off to our first hockey practice of the year. It’s H4, the last year when all this is still taken only kind-of seriously. Skates have been sharpened. The sweaty gear has been aired out. The Youngest has his goalie gear (borrowed from the LMHA).

We’re good to go. The Youngest is super excited.

And this time, I’ll be way more able to do what I gotta do.

So let’s take a look back to my last year as hockey parent.

  1. Managed to put the skates on the wrong feet. Easy enough to do, really, for a noob, but still super embarrassing.
  2. Drove him to the wrong rink for a practice. I want to blame the early time or lack of sleep, but it was just a complete brain fart. It’s why I arrive early for nearly everything; there’s a 50/50 chance that I’ll have forgotten something, got the wrong place or left the kid behind.
  3. bottlesBought about 30 water bottles. I don’t know why that’s the item I always forget to grab when I’m rushing out, but there it is. I think the rinks make their yearly sales profit off of bottles bought at the last moment. I suspect one rink did just that from me.
  4. Cheered for the wrong team. Again, kinda easy to do. Hey, they’re all pretty small, kinda cute and if both teams show up in black, I’ll root for the kids who are scoring the most goals. It also helps if I sit at the right rink. (Hey, there’s sometimes more than one!)
  5. I learned how to tie on goalie gear. I never played ice hockey, so this was all new. Oh sure I played a ton of street hockey, but back in my day, we had cardboard taped to our legs and a phone book strapped to our chest and only people from Langford wore masks. So, figuring out how to tie the skates to pads, which pad went on which leg, what the hell those extra pads did that just sat at the bottom of the bag looking like they really should be somewhere…it was all new to me.
  6. I tried to say hi to all the parents, but one guy just didn’t seem to like me, which I personally think is impossible. So, every morning I’d say, “Hi, Mike,” and he’d glare at me. I’d wave at him when we left. “See you later, Mike.” He’d just wave and glare. Turns out, his name was not Mike. This year I’ll go back to my tried and true, “hey buddy!”
  7. I learned never to rely on a 7 year old to tell you that he’s brought everything. Assume the exact opposite. “You have your jersey on?” “Yup.” “Errr, no you don’t, you have on your spiderman PJs.” “Oh, yeah.”
  8. There are videos for everything. If you need to look up how to tie skates (yes, I needed to know if I was doing THAT right), there’s a video. If you need to see how to clap like a Russian, well, there’s a video for that, though it features a half naked girl for some reason that only the internet understands. If you need to know what type of helmet is the best, yup, there’s something on youtube. Failing that, you could always ask. I did that a lot since taking out my laptop and typing queries into it while in the change-room might have seemed a little odd.
  9. I saw a lot of terrible parents, mostly at a higher level. You know, the ones who shout at their kids, scream at the ref, seem angry all the time. I could never understand that. We were lucky to have a great group at our level, not only on our team, but on the other teams as well. I saw only 1 parent lose it like he was a 2 year old having his ring pop taken away. But that was it. God help me if that’s me one day. I hope someone tells me if it ever is. “Joe, man, chill the f* out. It’s only kid’s hockey. Here’s a ring pop.”
  10. Coffee is absolutely vital to any early morning practice. If I forget it, all of 1-9 will happen. ALL.

IMG_5668I wonder what this year will hold in store for me?

I think the Youngest is wondering the same thing.

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Adventures in Parenting – Homeschooling

More Harm Than Good?

strikeWith the teacher’s strike on BC looking hopelessly deadlocked, it seemed like it was time for me to do some home edumakation. You know, reading, writing, arithmetic. All that kind of stuff.

But where to start? Was there a good website? A good program for homeschooling?

You know what, there probably is, but I haven’t been able to find a great one just yet. Any suggestions would be awesome, but for now, I’m using the BC Exam Bank as my starting point for grade 7 lessons. Hey, anything’s better than the Oldest just playing video games all day long, cuz, you know, that’s my job.

BCBookmarkSo, the BCEB would be a good start, thought I. It’s free because of the strike, so that’s a major plus.

Then I took a look at the tests.

I would have scored 4/10 on the science one, about 2/10 on grammar (wft is a concrete noun, I have no idea?) How is igneous rock created? Apparently it is not farted out a giant’s butt. And don’t even get me started on mathematics. I barely understood it when I was in grade 7 and now it just seems like a ton of symbols written in a drunken rage.

At some point in my life, I knew this stuff. In some part of my brain, it still may be stored. Maybe that brain cell that held the answer to ‘who was Emily Stowe?‘, died when I hit myself in the head with a golf club. Or maybe I was too busy gazing at the lovely, dark-haired woman of my dreams when the teacher told us a what a colloid was (I thought it was something you treated with hemorrhoid cream.)

So how can I do any schooling when I don’t have the answers to the questions?

The truth is, I don’t need them.

See, there’s this cool invention. Maybe you’ve heard of it.

googleIt’s called google. And every time the Oldest gets something he doesn’t understand, (like what the hell is assonance?) he gets the joy of looking it up on google.

Hey, back in my day (a phrase I will have tattooed to my butt very soon), we had to look it up in a dictionary that weighed 100lbs. I kid you not. Or look it up in the Encyclopedia Britannica – which I still have, thank you very much.

So it’s Google for the Oldest, a reasonable substitute for what’s in my brain (or the Encyclopedia Britannica.)

Not that we’ll just tackle all that learning stuff. No. There’s a bus-load of life lessons that I’m dying to teach the Oldest. No, I have no idea how to pick up women – which is lucky since he still thinks they’re icky – but I can teach him how to pump gas, or use his phone to find the nearest starbucks (for his teacher), or show him how to make funny fonts on Word. All important stuff, yes?

I’ll try not to make it completely un-fun. I’ll see what I can do about linking lessons to real life (oh, math, yeah, let’s go measure that cabinet and see how we put it dead-center on the wall) and I will try to make sure I get the Oldest thinking and not just regurgitating facts back to me. Or we’ll even try watching and learning from youtube vids (though his linking of watching how to make stuff on ‘crazycraft’ to learning about architecture was not what I had in mind.)

Oh, sure, it’s going to take a lot of time out of my already nutso day, as I try to get my novel off, a new one started and written, as I try to keep up my blog, as I deal with contractors and unpacking and trying to find where I hid my gorilla glue. But it’s time well spent, I think.

It’s another amazing adventure to go on.

Below is our first day’s lesson. Let’s hope I don’t do more harm than good.

Homeschooling – Sept 10th

  • Organize phone
    1. Put in phone numbers found on contact sheet
    2. Put in address of dad’s house and Joe/mom’s house
    3. Figure out route to school.
    4. Figure out a different route.
    5. Figure out how to put a ‘favourite’ website onto your phone
  • Shopping Trip With Joe
    1. Find note book
    2. Find good book to read
    3. Look for learning programs
  • 20 minutes of Trumpet
    1. Find music
    2. Clean trumpet
    3. Play 20 minutes
  • 1 math quiz (on computer)
    1. Discuss with Joe
    2. Print out
  • 1 grammar quiz
    1. Discuss with Joe
    2. Print out
  • Megalodon
    1. Watch with Joe
    2. Type out 5 of the coolest things about Megalodon.
    3. Print out the list of 5 things
  • Ancient Egypt Study
    1. Draw a picture of the Sphinx
    2. Draw a picture of what could be hidden under the sphinx. Use your imagination.
  • Jujitsu
  • Learn any and all things you don’t understand by googling solutions.
  • Set up Diary of Work
    1. Find note book
    2. Put date on page
    3. Write out how the day was spent (You could do this earlier if need be)

 

*****

Hey, anyone who’s doing something similar, let me know.

Have you found a good website?

Are there any programs you’d recommend?

Please share this far and wide as I need ideas on moving forward. Thanks!

 

 

 

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Moving With Kids – The Unpacking

Getting Everyone Involved

Ok, I’ll admit it, I have a problem. It started way back when I was just beginning my career as a retail guru. I had a hard time letting others do what I could clearly do better. Worse, I found it even harder taking the time to show them how to do it. I mean, hey, why spent 2 hours showing someone how to prune plants and pick up hamster poo when I could do it myself in 1/2hr?

Ok, it was this Lao Tzu guy. I think.

Ok, it was this Lao Tzu guy. I think.

It took me years to overcome this. YEARS! In the end, as the wise Buddha (or was it Christ?) said, teach a man to fish, and you can go get fish and chips while he’s out fishing. Or something like that.

So it was with the boys and what could be called the GREAT UNPACKING OF 2014.

There was a ton of unpacking to do. A TON! Literally. Maybe 10 tons.

Now the Prettiest-girl-in-the-world and I had a pretty good idea of what goes where, but to stand there and point while the boys unloaded boxes would be a massively inefficient use of time. So, how to give the boys some responsibility unpacking? How?

We gave them control over some areas of unpacking.

Scary, right?

You have no idea. Letting go of that control, over saying, that goes there, and this goes here was hard. My left eye twitched for a whole day. By the end of the 2nd day, I had developed a palsy-like shake as I stopped myself from micromanaging their every choice.

But we did it.

..And this gogi berry tea goes here, and this camomile tea goes there..

..And this gogi berry tea goes here, and this camomile tea goes there..

First we let them unpack all the food and put it in the pantry. While we unpacked plates and strange things from boxes I’d marked, “stuff, stuff and more stuff’, they found shelves for the breakfast food, canned goods, packages of pasta, and boxes and boxes of cookies.

The Youngest even sorted the tea to such a degree that he made sure each box was facing out, each had the bottom opened so that tea could be easily dispensed and even checked each box to make sure the right tea was in it.

OMG! Why had we never put him in charge of doing stuff like this before? He was a genius.

The oldest saw to it that we had specific areas for specific goods, that each shelf had a purpose, that each section held a greater rationale. He was like the general, designing a great strategy while the tactic genius, aka his brother, implemented the ideas.

By the end, they had done a pretty darned good job. Oh sure, I would have put the labels facing out on the peanut butter and color-coordinated the cans of baked beans, but the pantry was full and organized, and they saved us adults a whole heap of time.

IMG_5590

careful…. careful

Hmmm, thought I. What else could we have them do?

So we got them to unpack glasses. Yes, glasses. Made of glass. Glass that could shatter.

We told them this was serious business. Unwrap each glass carefully. Take your time. Slow is ok.

Then we stood back and held our breath. I gave it 50/50 that it would end in disaster.

But no, it ended with only 1 broken glass. Just one!

Even I couldn’t have done better.

They were amazing.

So they were given more boxes to unpack, the Youngest asking very awkward questions like…

IMG_5628

is 28 bottles of alcohol a lot?

“Joe, how come you have so much alcohol?”

Me: “Errr what?”

“You have, like, 20 bottles.”

“Uhm.”

“That’s a lot of bottles.”

“I guess.”

“So why do you have so many?”

“Hey, look over there!” I said. “I see your Pokemon cards!”

(Sadly, he was not to be distracted) “Joe, do you drink a lot?”

“No. I, ah, I have a lot of bottles because I DON’T drink a lot. Yeah. That’s it. I have lots of wine for when friends drop over and beer for other friends, and that bottle of Jack Daniels is for a friend, and that one over there is for another friend, and that huge bottle that your mom is hugging is called Tequila and is very expensive and used for special celebrations.”

“So you’re keeping it for other people?”

“Mostly. Yes. For other people. Yes.”

“Ok.”

quails

my friend

In truth, I don’t drink a lot. In truth, most of it IS for when people come by – I hate not being able to be a good host and so I make sure I have everyone’s favourite drink. However, in truth, there are a few in there for just us, for after the boys have gone to bed and we have survived watching them unpack the crystal.

Hello, Quail’s Gate Gewurztraminer. I’m talking to you.

IMG_5610

There are some who believe the Youngest should wear this as his regular clothes. With a helmet.

Each day, though, the boys have helped us unpack and organize our new house. They set up their own rooms. They helped move all the frog-boxes to the garage (and de-label them.) They jumped on piles of packing paper to condense it down (looking like they could both have great careers in grape-stomping at a winery.) They even swept and dusted.

Wow. I never imagined they could be so helpful.

So, tonight, we’ll take on the epic (and some say ‘impossible’) task of sorting out 4 moving boxes full of crayons, pencils, markers and what looks like melted gummy bears.

One of those ‘bottles for friends’ may be consumed afterwards.

*****

How have you had the kids help with unpacking?

Any advice on things NOT to do?

As always, if you like this blog, please share it, or print it out and cuddle it at night. Or like my FB page. Or reblog, retweet or repost.

Thanks!!!

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Moving With Kids –

The 10 Most Interesting Things That Happened On That Move

The great thing about writing, about blogging, is that you see everything in a slightly different light. Like a drunk. Or a zen master. Or both.

Plus, with my new family, I even get to learn a thing or two. The great move of 2014 had a bit of both.

IMG_0177 (3)1. I learned that kids love open spaces. If they had it their way, there’d be nothing but open space, a table to play their games on, and a TV, with or without a chair. The boys named the downstairs basement room the ‘rolling around room’, for the love of God. That kinda gives you an idea of what they want to do in that room. But, hey, who am I to complain? I have a library, aka, a room for books.

2. Having their own space is important to the boys, right? But equally important is a requirement that said space be precisely equal in square footage. Before we moved, the Youngest had a smaller room. A massively smaller room, to hear his side of the story. A room so small, he could barely turn around, a room so small his lego men had bigger beds, a room so small that when he took a breath, he sucked all of the oxygen out of it. Now, however, his room is within 3cm, (I kid you not, we measured) of his brother’s. Order has been restored to the universe.

3. The boys’ priority of unpacking was, the 3DSs, the computers and cookies for the dog. I loved that they thought about the dog, but there was little thought about food or shelter for themselves. I guess that’s why they have parents (and I guess that’s why dogs love kids.)

4. The vibrating bag, was, for the record and with complete honesty, not what you think it was. Nor what the movers thought it was. Sure it was a pink bag and, yes, something inside of it was going mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, but it was a canine nail grinder that got accidentally turned on. Yes, a nail grinder. For Vegas. For her nails. But nothing to see here. Move on.

5. The boys heard a lot of swearing. And not just from me. Last time they managed to hear such an outburst, I’d hit myself in the face with the car door. “M*therf*cking, sh*t, f*cking, f*uck, f*ck, assf*cking c*cks*cking, m*therf*cking poo!” This time, though, they got to hear it from the movers. And they didn’t even bang their head on a low-hanging, concrete beam. They just shook their heads like all adults were pretty stupid sometimes.

IMG_55916. I learned that I should never, ever pack at 3 am.IMG_4859

Never. Ever.

7. No matter what is written on the box, the movers will put a few in a random location. Like a box that says, “Master Bedroom – Upstairs – Clothes” was found in the basement office. With no bed – Or clothes – in sight. If I had to do it all over, again, I would follow them all around as if they were little leprechauns trying to hide the lucky charms, cuz they’re magically delicious.

8. I must remember to ask what all the buttons do BEFORE I actually move into a house. How do I turn on the overhead fan? This switch, no, that’s the garburator. What about this one? No, that kills a puppy in India. What about this one? No, looks like it turns on the fan light – but I know I’m getting closer. I’ve assigned the Youngest to sort it all out. He loves pressing buttons and I just hope we don’t somehow start a nuclear war with someone.

9. Just cuz the movers can lift it, doesn’t mean I can. There was a pair of boxes. I won’t say who packed them, but it wasn’t me. Or the Youngest. Or the oldest. They were good-sized boxes. The kind you fill with glasses or puffy jackets. Inside these were records. Old ones. Made from the black bits from a black hole. Man, I nearly popped out an eye lifting that one. Somehow the movers had decided not to take it to the media room and left it in the garage. I suspect on purpose.

10. Moving is stressful. For everyone. The boys. The dog. The Prettiest-girl-in-the-world. And me. But we took a moment, after all the movers had gone, as we stood in our kitchen surrounded by a wall of boxes like we were preparing to fight off a Zulu attack, we looked around and marveled at our new house. It was huge and held so much promise. Plus, pizza was on the way. It’s a good life!

IMG_0172

 

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Moving With Kids

Moving With Kids

Ok, ok, not our real house, this is Eilean Donan but I would love to live in a castle.

Ok, ok, not our real house, this is Eilean Donan but I would love to live in a castle.

It’s finally here. The Great Move of 2014, where two houses become one, where the great war between the clans will finally end.

I’ll admit it, I was a little nervous. Not about moving in with the Prettiest-girl-in-the-world and her boys, (it was going to be the start of my awesome new life), but it was going to be a whopping move, make no mistake. On one side, a handsome man with hoarding tendencies who had 3, yes 3, dining room tables, about 5 desks and dozen bookshelves. On the other side, lots and lots of toys. Wait, that was still me. On the other side, well, not much, really. So maybe it was more about moving a ton of my stuff. Let’s be honest.

The boys had been great packing up their stuff at their house. The Oldest, bless his heart, dismantled all of the lego displays and put them in bags, complete with instructions. The youngest vacuumed (even coming over to my house to vacuum). They filled boxes with books and clothes and toys. They worked hard.

All the stuff that didn't fit into any of the existing piles, boxes or containers

All the stuff that didn’t fit into any of the existing piles, boxes or containers

Me, I packed up over a month, but somehow the last few days got away from me. I’d been so good about packing in a super organized way, (you know, history books sorted by era, fiction sorted by type, size, author and color, writing books sorted by what I’d forgotten and cook books sorted by food types – Oh, yeah, I have a lot of books, too,) but come that last day, all that stuff I couldn’t sort in a OCD fashion was piled in my living room like the house had vomited it up.

So I ended up spending the last night until 3am packing.  The previous two nights I’d stayed up to 2, trying to get it all come together, but that wasn’t enough. However, by 3am, it was pretty much good to go.

Pretty much.

So I went to bed and tried to sleep. The boys said they weren’t really excited, like it wasn’t real, but at least they weren’t stressed. They slept well. No worries. Not the same for the Prettiest-girl-in-the-world and I.

I slept about 2 hours. She got 4.

The loading begins.

The loading begins.

Then the movers came. A truck to each of our houses. What took me a week to pack up and move to an official ‘sorted’ area, they did in about an hour. The rest of the stuff took time, but we were on our way by noon.

I won’t go into the details of all the problems we encountered with the movers, as that’s a whole other story, but when we all arrived at the new house, the real work began. Me with my 1 ½ moving trucks, and the Prettiest-girl-in-the-world and her boys with their 11 boxes and a couple of desks and tables.

Now, understand, we have a nice-sized house, yet within a short time, some rooms were packed to the ceiling. Hello “Joe’s Library,” I’m talking to you.

The boys, though were amazing. They’d spent the first part of the day with their grandparents at an epic family gathering. Bad timing on our part. We would have loved to be out with everyone, but we had work to do.

By the time the boys arrived, we were in full-on panic mode. There was simply too much stuff and too little space in some areas. The boys did their best to stay out of everyone’s way and hid in their rooms most of the time. Their beds were set up, their dressers brought in, and their boxes brought up. The boys looked more stressed than excited. I couldn’t blame them. It was all chaos and swearing.

Our house. In the middle of the street. Our house is our castle and our keep

Our house. In the middle of the street. Our house is our castle and our keep

In the end, everything was jam-packed into the house, like stuffing into a turkey. Mmmmm turkey. We were all dusty, hungry and very tired. The Prettiest-girl-in-the-world ordered pizza for us and the movers, then we went to bed, knowing tomorrow would be another very, very busy day.

So what did we learn?  I mean other than me having to throw away a lot more stuff? (I already had a ton and a half hauled away.)

Stay tuned.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Triage

10 things to know about moving

The kids organize.

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Traveling Without Kids – Whistler – White Water Rafting 2

White Water, White Knuckles

I couldn’t tell you the name of our guide. The other guides called him Slovak. He was not from Slovakia, but Slovenia. Naming him ‘Slovak’ is a guy thing. Or a stupid thing. Or maybe both. Like calling someone from Ireland, ‘the Scot’. Or a big guy, ‘Tiny’.

IMG_3501Oh, he told us his name about a dozen times, but it was all foreign-like. And had a lot of syllables. And he had an accent. So, yeah,I couldn’t tell you his real name so let’s call him Slovak the Guide. Kind of a Game of Thrones name like ‘the Mother of Dragons’ or ‘the Hand’ or ‘the guy who got boiling gold poured on his head’.

Anyway, after hearing about the 22 ways we could all die horribly, Slovak the Guide took us to the center of the river and made us practice our drills. There were 2 father and son teams. Us. And 2 fit-if-hungover-looking guys.

Forward! Slovak the Guide yelled. Backwards! Right side, Forward, again! Hold on! Stop hitting person behind you with paddle! Forward hard! Joe stop falling out of boat!

I want to say we were awesome, that we took directions well, that we all paddled like a well oiled bunch of Spartans (and FYI, the Prettiest-girl-in-the-world wished we were a bunch of well oiled Spartans), but we actually sucked monkey balls.

This whole ‘rowing together’ thing is hard. The Prettiest-girl-in-the-world and I were in complete sync, but the guy in front of her, he had a random beat going on in his head. Row, one two, row, one, two, three, la-la-la, row, row. It threw us both off.

Our side of the boat ended up looking like a spider having an epileptic fit.

However, we rocked at the “Down!” command so I thought we’d be safe. At the end of the day, did we really need to row or just know how to hang on for dear life?

Then we started. Slowly at first, still trying to get that whole left side or right side backwards thing worked out. We were awesome at spinning the boat. If that counted for anything.

IMG_3561

And my crotch completely fills with cold water

Then we drifted into our first rapids. White water surged around us and we tore through it, waves splashing over us, the freezing water waking the hell out of me. NOW I WAS FUCKING AWAKE, let me tell you. Forget coffee. If you ever need to wake up, pour glacier water down your pants.

Slovak the Guide was amazing at keeping us aligned and, frankly, afloat, while at the same time, letting us have the fun of splashing through walls of water. Mad kudos to the guy.

We passed through the first rapids without anyone falling off. However, the guy in front of the Prettiest-girl-in-the-world – an older, English gentleman – fell backwards onto her and bruised her hand up something fierce.

It was not a good start cuz you kinda needed hands on this ride, but she’s tough, that one and refused to let a little pain get in her way.

When we reached a deeper, less murderous part of the river, Slovak the Guide told us we could go over the side and practice floating or holding on to the boat or just see how cold the water would be. The Prettiest-girl-in-the-world declined, wisely, but me, being the same guy who once zapped himself with an electric, fly swatter to see what if felt like, thought, hey, why not?

Holy hell, it was COLD!!!

3 exclamation points cold. Even in the wetsuit.

You have no idea how cold it really is until you actually get in. My balls immediately shot into my throat for protection, and my whole body went into shock. My heart thundered in my chest, my muscles refused to move because all of the blood went to protect my brain (and to my penis, I hoped, to stop it from freezing solid and falling off.)

And even in this mild part of the river, the current was POWERFUL. Mad respect to the river, man. You are pretty much powerless against it.

When blood returned to my muscles and I stopped screaming like a girl, I swam back to the boat and tried to claw my way in. But my wetsuit boots had filled with water and the current kept dragging my lower body under the boat. So, unable to use my feet to kick up, I just couldn’t muster the strength to haul myself in.

This was not a proud moment. Getting out of a pool is one thing. Getting out of a raging river, well, that is quite another thing.

I finally had to admit defeat and ask for help. The Prettiest-girl-in-the-world and one of the fit-now-no-longer-hungover guys hauled me out of the water like a drowned cat. As I climbed back in the boat, I knew one thing for sure. I was not going back in that water, again. The river was not my friend.

Exhausted, panting, I grabbed my oar, and prepared for the rest of the journey. Ahead were 2 class 4 rapids and – according to Slovak the Guide – it was “not usual for person to fall in water.”

Great.

Into the rapids we go!

Into the rapids we go!

However, despite enormous difficulty rowing as one, we made it through the Devil’s Elbow and whatever the 2nd one was called. Likely something like the Rocks of Murderous Death or The Whirlpools of Doom. Nothing has a nice name on this river. Like the Blossom Bend. Or Puppy Puddles.

By the time we stopped for a mammoth lunch of a peanut butter bar and a glass of iced tea, I was getting the hang of rowing, of leaning out and using my body strength instead of just my arms. The Prettiest-girl-in-the-world did heroic rowing and rode the waves like a pro. I was beginning to think this was not her first time.

Then, after lunch and one more set of rapids, Slovak the Guide thought, hey, you know what, riding rapids isn’t hard enough – let’s make this super tough by getting all of us to stand up in the boat, and link arms. Then he told us to climb up onto the side of the boat.

Now, for anyone who hasn’t done water rafting or is simply loves to hear how cruel some people can be, the boat is an inflatable one. That means the sides are rounded, and slippery and a little skooshie. In other words, super freaking hard to stand on.

But we did it, the older, English gentleman desperately holding onto the Prettiest-girl-in-the-world’s arm like an eagle holds on to a salmon . OMG the Prettiest-girl-in-the-world had the balance of a ninja ballerina and somehow kept the older English gentleman and me from falling in the water. I dunno how she did it.

Now, that was hard, but swaying and shifting back and forth, we managed to do it. Then, because THAT wasn’t hard enough, he made us walk around the edge of the boat, a rubbery, slippery, bobbing, unstable boat on a racing river.

We had me on one side of the Prettiest-girl-in-the-world and the older, English gentleman on the other. One of the fit-now-no-longer-hungover-looking-guys, (Sean…Shane…Mike, something like that), kept me upright, but I couldn’t stop the older, English gentleman from pitching into the boat a few times and dragging the Prettiest-girl-in-the-world with him. She got more banged up, but being kinda stubborn, refused to fall into the water.

Somehow, I don’t know how, none of us fell into the water. Oh, we plowed face first into the boat a whole ton of times and one time when I fell with such epic grace, that I managed to bring the whole group down on top of me like a collapsing Jenga game.

slovak

Ok, next, handstands!

However, Slovak the Guide was satisfied. If we weren’t wet, at least we were sore and bruised. That would teach us for not knowing his name.

Then we took on the last bit of the river. The older, English gentleman was getting tired and fell onto the Prettiest-girl-in-the-world a dozen times. He banged her up pretty good, but the worst was still to come. He decided he wanted to switch his head-camera from his son to himself.

Slovak the Guide kept shouting, “Hurry! Water coming!” but we went into the last rapids two men down, the Prettiest-girl-in-the-world holding his oar while trying to keep him from falling into the water and the fit-but-now-completely-sober guy and I trying to take up the slack. Man, I never rowed harder in my life or gripped any seat with my ass more.

IMG_3607

The epileptic spider

But we made it through.

We survived, battered and bruised, panting from rowing, but alive. Slovak the Guide had steered us safely through all the obstacles.

The ride was so beautiful. The mountains towered above us. One wept two streams of tears. Bright lichen glowed in the shadows. Hawks soared overhead. Brilliant sunlight diamonded off of the water. The Prettiest-girl-in-the-world smiled and laughed and that made my heart happy.

8 - Mount KayleeSlovak the Guide told us there was a 2 day trip planned where, I kid you not, they would do yoga at the end of the day. I could barely freaking walk after a ride down that river and yoga would just plain kill me. I could hear the yoga instructor now. “Ok, everyone stop pull out your quinoa tofu bars and relaxe, that Joe guy has cramped up again and is crying.”

So, was it a success? Is this whole white water rafting something I would recommend? Did the Prettiest-girl-in-the-world have a good time?

Hell yes to all of them.

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Posted in BC, Blogging, Travel, Whistler, White Water Rafting, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Traveling Without Kids – Whistler – White Water Rafting.

The Great Rapids Adventure of 2014

My life has been so much richer, so much more amazing (and, ok, confusing) now that I have kids in my life. But sometimes it’s nice to get away. Just the two of us. You know, have some adult time.

IMG_3434And by that I mean, white water rafting!

It’s been on the Prettiest-girl-in-the-world’s bucket list, so for her 39th birthday, we went to Whistler and booked ourselves a trip. Outback Adventures. The Wet and Wild Exhilarator.   Class 3-4 rapids.

Sounded like a lot of fun.

big-hero-6-baymaxOk, so first off, a wet suit is not a good look for me.

I knew it the moment I zipped it up. I can hide a lot by dressing well, but in a wetsuit, all the blubber is there to see. I look like Hero 6. Before he puts on the red battle suit.

It’s like every timmies donut, every order of poutine, every extra McFatty meal I ever ate was there for all to see.

However, the good news is, I’m pretty sure that I’d be rated as a marine floatation device. I told the Prettiest-girl-in-the-world that if we all went over, hold on to me, don’t worry if I’m face-down in the water, I don’t need to be alive to float.

But I tell you, if I had put on a wetsuit every morning to go to work, I’d eat kale cookies, drink quinoa shakes and work out to videos by that torturer, Jillian Michaels.

The Prettiest-girl-in-the-world looked great in her wet suit – don’t let her tell you otherwise. However, she said she had a problem with uniboob. All the other hot girls had proper, separated boob definition. She tried showing them her uniboob and getting suggestions, they just looked at her, apparently, in complete horror. So, she tried to mold hers into two but they wouldn’t cooperate no matter how she pushed or pulled them. Not even when she tried to fake them out by zipping up her suit super fast.

It didn’t matter. She looked awesome. Even with her safety helmet on, and let’s face it, that’s not an easy thing to pull off.

I have to say I was a bit nervous at first. Not about the rafting (for some reason, I had no fear of this), but, while we waited, the driver kept yanking open the hood of the bus, banging on something inside and swearing. The Prettiest-girl-in-the-world and I looked at each other. The last thing we wanted was to have to walk back to civilization in our wetsuits.

Especially since I might be mistaken for a whale and killed for my blubber.

However, we all got on the bus and trusted to the Lord or St Christopher, the patron saint of travelers, or whomever we thought my intervene on our behalf. In the end, the bus survived one more ride.
We had a long ride to the drop off point. We all had to introduce ourselves, say our name (not easy for me to remember first thing in the morning), state where we were from (again, this is a challenge), tell everyone if this was our first time rafting and, then, tell everyone our favourite childhood memory. Not wanting to have an epic fail, I immediately started thinking what would be my favourite memory. I mean, hey, my childhood was awesome, but I needed something humorous or poignant.

I could have said my first orgasm. That was a highlight when I found out I could do that. But this was a family bus, so, yeah, no to that idea. I could tell everyone about the time my brother almost shot me in the head with an arrow, but that would take a lot of backstory to build up.

soccerSo, I went with something neither poignant nor funny, just something simple. Hi, my name is “Joe, I’m originally from Victoria, BC, this is my first time rafting and my favourite memory is playing soccer in the backyard with my dad, though he was English like the guy in the back there, and he too refused to call it anything but football.”

The Prettiest-girl in the world begged me not to mention it was her birthday so I didn’t. I have to assume when she says something like that she means it, not that she’s somehow secretly hoping that I will mention it so the whole bus can sing happy birthday to her (and maybe one of the hunky guides will let her touch his biceps).

It was too early for me to be funny, but clearly not for everyone. One guy stood up, said, “Hi, my name is Bob and I’m an alcoholic.” I believed him. Two irish boys stood up and I loved hearing their accents, “Hullo, my name is Liam and h’I’m from H’iiiiireland.” There were 2 stag groups, all filled with funny guys who mostly made fun of each other or themselves. “Some play hard to get, I play hard to want,” and even an Olympian from Jordan, who was not funny, but if you’re an Olympian, you don’t have to be.

IMG_3460Our guides were all super fit men, mostly young. A few from Australia, including one who claimed, with all sincerity, that he wrestled crocs.

I thought what an amazing life they must have. Oh sure, they live in tents, but they all travel around the world doing this sort of thing, working in hotels or being guides, all so they can kayak or mountain bike or dodge arrows shot by their brother. Pretty cool. I think if I was their age, I’d do a lot of thinking about that kind of fun. Not actually doing it, you understand, but I would think about it. Maybe download a video.

It took 90 min for us to get there, a long, mostly boring and bumpy ride. When we got there, we all waddled out of the bus, a few guys peed on the road, then we all bumbled down to the water to get our instructions. The main guide told us to please pay attention, “to stop looking at Sean. Yes, I know he has an amazing body, it’s why he takes his shirt off all the time, but you need to focus for just a moment.”

I’m not sure the Prettiest-girl-in-the-world heard him. Nor did any of the women, I suspect. Oddly enough, there weren’t a lot of women on this trip. Hell, if they put up lots of pictures of the buff aussies, that would totally change.

safetyAll I heard was, blah, blah, blah, when you go under the boat, blah, blah, blah, when the boat over turns, something about death, blah, blah, blah, hit a log and drown, blah, blah, blah, body washes up downstream, something about how cold the water was and something about 100% success rate on saving the life jackets.

Then they gave us the option of not going and getting a full refund. Basically he scared the pants off of us to make us take this river seriously. He didn’t have to do that for me. I had a plan. I wasn’t going to fall into that water. No way in hell. I may be chubby, but I gotz good balance.

Anyway, when asked who the couples were, the Prettiest-girl-in-the-world and I put up our hands. We thought we’d get put with all the other couples. It would be kind of cool, a few less-than-fit guys with their girlfriends, maybe the Olympian and her new husband, maybe the model gorgeous people from Surrey or the Filipinos.

But no. We got two super fit young guys, and two father-and-son teams. The Prettiest-girl-in-the-world was the only girl.

I said this was great since all the men would try to save her. Me, they’d let drown, but her, they’d fight over to save.

But I don’t think she heard me. She had on her fierce face. She was going to out row them all. Dammit. Hi, my name is the Prettiest-girl-in-the-world and this is my first time rafting and I’m for Surrey, you bastards, so watch the f* out.

She stomped into the boat, grabbed the oar and prepared to ride the sh*t out of the river. I got in behind her, sat down and wondered if I’d updated my life insurance.

Then we rowed out into the river.IMG_3469

 

 

 

Posted in Traveling Without Kids, Uncategorized, Whistler, White Water Rafting | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment