I am very happy to be home again after a little over a week on the road. I am feeling kind of exhausted but rested at the same time, in that post family vacation way.
Here are some of the things we did, as they pop into my head:
1. We spent our first night in the Hotel Universel in Rivière du Loup, Québec (our options were limited, as we were travelling with two dogs). When I had made the reservation, the guy on the phone had said to me that the only rooms available were "poolside." What this turned out to mean was that our room had sliding glass doors and a small balcony overlooking the world's most chlorinated indoor pool. The room reeked and the noise from the pool, during the hours it was open, was unbelievable. D. LOVED it. He renamed it "The Great Place" (it looks nothing like on the web site. And I love the marketing here. "Classic" means completely unrenovated since my childhood. With the same carpets.) and it may have been the higlight of his vacation (we stayed their again on the way back. This time we had direct access to the parking lot and a row of other families with dogs as neighbours. This was much better from the adults' perspectives).
2. We stayed with my spouse's brother and family in PEI. It was my kids' first visit to the Island. The two families blend very well together and we had gorgeous weather. We had such a good time.
3. We had dinner with an old friend of my spouse's (I had over-lapped with him in our small university town but we somehow had never met) and his lovely spouse and son. We ate in their beautiful yard in dowtown Charlottetown. The meal was as good as any I have ever had in a restaurant. It made me want to move there.
4. My sister-in-law and I went horse-back riding with the older kids. It was a forty-five minute ride over very easy trails but I was more than a little nervous, as I have only ridden a handful of times in my life (and the last time was more than twenty years ago). My horse was named "Lady" and she was nothing of the sort. I was warned by the staff that she liked to stop and eat on the side of the trails and that she was likely to "test me." If I let her get away with anything, it would be "game over." Very reassuring.
I reminded myself that I am a Mom. And I have dogs. I know how to set boundaries. It actually went pretty well. I was pretty proud of myself. She did break once into a trot and I don't think I was very dignified but I managed to hold on. (And then she stopped to pee. And that turned out to be the the day that we were without water overnight. Even after changing, I still had the smell up my nose. My older son made it worse. Every so often, he would come close to me, sniff loudly and say, "Horse." A comedian that one).
5. PEI beaches rank among the most beautiful places in the world. We went to this one (four of us - not me - were brave enough to jump from the dock into the river. I was happy to stay ocean-side) and this one (some of us thought there were too many jelly fish to swim but we went for a beautiful walk along the dunes) and this one (I took the dogs for a long walk along the beach here. I have run out of superlatives. It was purty.)
6. I turned 42 on August 4. I slept in. We went to the beach. We ate oysters and mussels and lobster. There was wine. There was cake. And the little kids spent the day saying, "Shh. It's a secret." One of my favourite birthdays ever.
7. One day, I had fried clams and french fries for lunch and dinner (or dinner and supper, as they say in the Maritimes). And that was pretty representative of our vacation eating habits.
8. I brought back ginger ale for Sassymonkey.
9. We visited with my father's oldest sister (he was one of 10 and my mother was one of 13) in Miramichi, NB. Her beautiful house holds so many memories for me. I am so glad we stopped, if only for a couple of hours.
10. We spent two nights in Dalhousie, New Brunswick, the town where I was born. It's also my mother's home town and it was so much fun to spend time with her family and see some of my relatives. We went for walks on the beach and played by the light house I visited as a child. The best part though, was sitting in my cousin's back yard and laughing until I cried. I had not seen these relatives in many years but I have become convinced that there is a sense of humour that is genetic (my sister and Mom know what I am talking about. And we also seem to share a love of animals. The dogs were a huge hit).
11. We drove and drove and drove.
12. Today, I am going to reacquaint myself with vegetables. Fries are not a veggie serving. Beer is not a grain. And drinking wine is not like eating grapes.