Sunday, 8 May 2016

Date Daze

Last week the resident sweetie celebrated a milestone birthday. Instead of a big party, we set up outings on each of the three days of the weekend. We had such a lovely time, we decided we should set up a date every week. Good idea, eh?

Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time.

So Friday was date day. We had planned a trip to visit the kids and grandkids on the mainland, but now, we decided to spend the day in Vancouver before heading to Abbotsford. We would visit the Van Dusen Botanic Gardens, with dinner out afterwards.

 Van Dusen Gardens entrance: We'd last visited this place when our kids were young, many, many years ago.
We’d catch the 10:30 a.m. ferry, and have all afternoon and evening to do whatever we wanted in Vancouver. Then we would move on to Abbotsford for a few more days.  Great idea, eh?

But to catch the 10:30 ferry, we’d have to leave by 8:30, which meant getting up at 6:30 a.m. Who starts a date that early? Not us. Maybe we’d be more relaxed if we had a later start. We’d still have lots of time in Vancouver if we caught the 12:30 ferry. After all, the journey is part of the experience, and why not enjoy it all the way, wide awake and relaxed? Good idea, eh?

At 10:30, right on schedule, car all packed, relaxed and pleased with ourselves, we headed south for the one hour trip to the ferry. A beautiful, sunshiny day, on a beautiful island, beautiful mountains and ocean around us, the beautiful city of Vancouver awaiting our explorations ... what a great day for a date!  What a great idea!

Perhaps you’ve guessed where this is going: Murphy was with us yesterday. The first inkling that something might not go according to the plan was as we approached Nanaimo – the roads were so busy. All those people wouldn’t be heading to the ferry, would they? But they were. We ended up 7 cars shy of getting on that ferry – and now we would have to wait for more than 3 hours to catch the next one. What a lovely date: sitting in a hot parking lot with hundreds of other cars, waiting, experiencing all the joys of “Island time”. How often we had been told – and in turn had laughingly told others –  “Relax. It’ll happen when it happens. No sense getting your knickers in a knot.” Not so funny now.

We’ve been islanders long enough to know we’d better be prepared for the unexpected, so we  made the best of it, snacking on picnic food, doing a sudoku, reading the paper, playing games on our cell phones. We only had ourselves to blame, after all. I hate it when that happens. It’s so tempting to blame it on someone else – wasn’t it the RS that had suggested leaving later? (Don't go there, Jessie.)
Finally we got to Vancouver. Of course, by this time it was rush hour! At 5 p.m. we were snarled in 4 lanes of traffic that had to funnel into one lane to cross the Lion’s Gate Bridge. Without going into detail, that’s not all that was snarly.  It was 6:30 before we arrived at our destination. If we ate supper before we entered, we’d only have 30 minutes to tour the gardens. What to do? We went in on empty stomachs. The gardens were pretty and peaceful.

Lovely, but our behaviour to each other was not. Snark snark, snip snip, grump, grump. We ended up walking out before we’d seen it all. Whose good idea was this date thing, anyway?

Well, we still had a restaurant dinner to look forward to. Perhaps we could make up over a nice glass of wine, and have a good laugh about the way our date had turned out. Except, zooming down the highway at 120 km./hr., we missed the turnoff for the restaurant we’d chosen, and finally at 9 p.m., our moods dark and dangerous, we stopped at a fast-food bar inside a gas station/convenience store  – one of those places that thinks that the paper your hamburger is wrapped in makes a great plate. No wine. Just whine. No laughs, either.

Some days – and dates –  are like that, eh?

A friend has just created a piece of textile art with a message that reads, “I am grateful for the challenges in my life, for without them I would not have stumbled across my strengths.”

Art created by Lynn Morfitt Gray as a response to a Small Worx challenge to create a piece that tells a story about your life. (This photo doesn't do it justice -- the piece is lovely.)

Truly, when the news media are full of horror stories about wars and wild fires, our failed “date day” rates about .00001 on the challenge scale. But I have learned that I have a long way to go before I stumble across that “hidden strength.” There will be more challenges, and hopefully, slowly, I’ll learn, bit by bit. I can say that I am grateful for this challenging day: it is a valued piece in the puzzle that is life, with its sunshine and shadows, laughter and tears, frustrations and joys. And some day – well, even now – we’ll get a good laugh out of it.

Yesterday was another day. It started with a knock on our bedroom door – the youngest granddaughter was needing a snuggle and a chat. It continued with all kinds of good things: a quiet morning, lunch on the deck, a visit to a greenhouse and petting zoo, thrift store shopping with my daughter-in-law and two grandgirls, a supper date with the oldest grandgirl, which included wine and no whine. Reading stories together. Love and hugs and laughs galore.

Some days are like that, eh? Thank goodness!

1 comment:

  1. Your story made me grin--snark, snark, snip, snip grump indeed! Never happens to me and my RS....