Sunday, 14 June 2015

The closing stretch

This spring has been a whirlwind of activity for me. Trying to accomplish everything that needs to be done before my cousin comes in from Scotland for a visit, a cousin I've never met no less. I had almost three months notice of her impending visit to our fair land, and today marks one week til she and her daughter land in Toronto. One week. Oh crap.

I've used their visit as a motivator to get something done around here, and as they're both staying with us for a couple weeks, the house should at least be livable! Setting up two bedrooms is easy enough, as was fixing various items around the house that needed attention for a while, but kept going unnoticed. The back yard has been rebuilt, and the patio awaits a good party. This week's load will be 10 bags of yard waste, it's amazing how fast that crap pile up. Last night we had a dry run for the backyard's entertainment potential, hosting a bunch of my wife's friends for a summer kick-off BBQ. It was nice. However, I had to prompt them to sit on the patio, they began the night quite comfortably perched on the porch.

Other things have not been going as well. Certain plans have been waylaid by fate, or karma, depending on how you think about it. The intention was to pick them up in Toronto, then head for the Falls for a day or two before driving back home. But, no car. My car, after finally going back on the road after eight months, has messed up front bearings, and is not driving 1,000 kms. The other potential ride is now the subject of a GM recall. So, the train it is. Hopefully we'll be able to take them to Niagara on the way home instead.

Getting people's schedules in tune with each other has also proved fun. We all work different schedules and it's a foregone conclusion that while our guests are here someone will be at work. Vacation days are booked for a few, and we are planning outings that fit everyone's lives, but that comes at a cost. Someone's going to lose, we can't please everyone, and nor should we. Two weeks is lots of time to get involved. So we keep changing things. We keep adjusting dates, and just when we think we've got our shit together, something creeps up and forces our hand again. C'est la vie. We take it as it comes, regardless of when things happen, it's our intent that our visitors are given the run of the place and made to feel at home, regardless of plans. Plans, like rules, are meant to be flexible.

My fear is that we don't show them a good time. I fear our hospitality won't be up to the challenge. Canada is a wonderful place, it's huge, it's historical, it's friendly, somewhat entertaining, and so much more. It also can be boring. Really mind-numbingly boring. The train ride down here will put them to sleep before they even see Windsor. Four hours of flat farmland moderately interspersed with the occasional town or city, which will feature short buildings, flat roads, and round people. Windsor has a lot going on in the next few weeks with Canada Day, Summerfest, Carousel of Nations, and more, but nothing world class. Nothing mind-bending. Sorry, no running of the bull here. I may be taking this stuff for granted as It's always been here with my, so maybe they'll find this stuff interesting. I bloody well hope so.

My fear is that they don't enjoy themselves. My fear is that we fail as hosts. I'm new at this, I've never introduced someone to my country!

It won't fail. We'll make sure a good memorable time is had by all, including those of us providing the hospitality. I look forward to meeting my cousins, seeing family photos, hearing stories about dad's kin. It's an exciting thing. For better or worse we will make them feel like Canada is a great place to visit.

Only a few more tidbits to take care of before next week. Only a few more one-time only tasks. But they're not small, and I'm wasting time writing this instead of doing them!


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