Saturday, 5 September 2009

Labour Day Weekend

3 days til school starts. My son starts high school, my daughter starts grade 4. Wow, have they grown. The weekend is the last hurrah of the summer, the last chance to do things you wouldn't normally do the rest of the year, and yet it seems we haven't even had the chance to start. This summer, as you know, sucked. Hugely sucked.

I kept saying I can't wait til the school year starts because it will bring back some sort of normal to the house, but it won't be that way at all. The first 'not' normal is high school, my little guy is growing up faster than I'm comfortable with. He has his schedule, his friends are in place, new shoes await, blah blah blah, but it's all new to him and us. Normal. Yeah.

We had some labour day traditions going for a while, the first of which sounds silly, but hey, it's what we do. Every Labour Day we go down to Assumption Park at least one last time, maybe take the bikes, or just walk along the paths of the sculpture garden. We have lunch at the Chip Wagon, fend off the bees, take pictures on the boulder (progression chart of the new age), and head home, where bags are packed and clothes are picked out.

We also tend to have a BBQ with Shelley and Mike and their girls. Last year, we headed to the Harrow Fair. It seems that Labour Day has always been for those things you take for granted during the summer, but if you don't have a chance to do them, it all gets crammed into one weekend.

Not this year. First off, my car is on loan - taking someone near to us to school in Ottawa. Their car is out of the picture for this trip, so I stepped up and loaned them mine. So, no trip to Assumption Park. I did however, get a loaner for the weekend, an ebike, which I took to work yesterday, and can I say I WANT ONE! Really cool, like a bicycle for lazy people that scoots at 35 kph. The Harrow Fair is also out, as I can't take my family on said ebike to another town.

The BBQ is out, as the families that take part are not around to enjoy it, and frankly, nobody's got any coin to put one on this year. We may have one before the cold weather hits, who knows.

Oh well, we'll make the best of it, it's still a long weekend for me, the only on in the house that can really say that, everyone else has had a weekend lasting months. I will still enjoy it, relaxing around here and getting some work done in the basement.

My daughter is ready to go. Kim took her to get shoes yesterday and came back with a pair that matches her new backpack - pink plaid. Too cool. She's geeked to go back, strangely enough more for the school than seeing her friends again. She's a little bookworm, some days I wonder who's ready for high school. Unlike most children her age, she's eager for school. She thrives on it to the point it drives my son nuts. When she started summer, she actually made herself homework because she missed it. Weird child, but I love her.

Today is cleaning day downstairs. We want to create a family room where dad's living room was. Not too much of a stretch to do that, we just have to change the decor a bit, and take out some of the stuff we've inadvertently piled in there when we purged the upstairs. Dad never let us paint that room, so the primer on the walls that the previous owner applied is still there, today we'll start patching the walls and looking at paint. We don't want that room to be a catch all or a storage room, we want it to be usable space, maybe put the PS2 down there, or a games table. Something anyway, we need to move on and avoid the temptation to make dad's space a shrine to him. We still haven't touched his bedroom, I'm not ready for that yet. Today that door stays closed (once I put it back up, we took his bedroom door off when the oxygen came in so it wouldn't squish the air line).

So at it we go, after coffee and morning paper, the sun is shining, September has begun on a bright warm note, and we're off to change traditions. We're off to begin rebuilding ourselves.

Change is good sometimes.


Sunday, 30 August 2009

The best laid plans of mice and men

Last night was our reunion for the cadet corps. A great time was had by all, but not all we wanted to see. It did bother me a little that many who confirmed didn't make it in, but those who did had a great time. Our original plan was to have a catered event at a legion here in Windsor, so planning started months ago. Calls were made, promo material published, announcements were sent to various media outlets (it helps when I work for newspapers), all in an attempt to find as many as we could for this very important 40th anniversary of the corps. We wanted present members to attend as well, it was to be an all ages event.

Plans changed.

We didn't get the response we wanted, the current corps leadership failed to promote the event with the cadets - many of whom had relatives that have grown up with the corps an important part of their lives. The current leadership either failed, or more likely, didn't bother to help. Yup, I'm slamming the present leadership. Deal with it.

When we realized the reunion wouldn't go down as planned, we changed gears and went for the house party idea. One former member offered up his acre and a half backyard to us, and we headed out, with coolers, chairs and cameras. We had 15 former members there last night, all of whom have managed to stay in touch for over 25 years. Some of them are good friends who rarely go more than a few days without seeing each other, some moved away and rarely come back to Windsor, but everyone there had one thing in common, an intense desire to keep connected with those who helped shape who they are all those years ago. Even if we only see each other once a year, we still carried on as if it was only yesterday that we parted company. The camaraderie we shared was unique and heartfelt. Seeing a couple of guys who were inseparable back then trading jabs like brothers, even though they had not seen each other or even talked since the early 90s, we must have really had something back then. I can only hope my children find people that mean that much to each other that many years later.

Those who couldn't attend were missed, but in the end, there were many reasons. People get busy, or move away, it's hard to do this for so many reasons. There was no animosity towards those who didn't show, we will just make sure they see the pics and hear the stories, and maybe that way they can still feel like they took part. Next time, maybe, others can share what we had last night.

We have grey hair now, we don't move as fast, age has started to catch up to us, but that didn't matter, last night we were all 18 again. This morning however, I feel my age plus 18.

I can't wait til next year.