Another holiday and if it was to be like all the others over the past 16 years in Ottawa, I would be staying home, like the Tulip festival, which came and went, I have yet to attend even one. My front yard was overflowing with tulips so I consoled myself with them. I had families walk by and the kids would stop to smell all the spring flowers then they would all huddle together for a selfie. My guess is they too blew off the festival and felt guilty but now they could email off a somewhat lamer photo version and no one would know. I was pleased I wasn't the only one who missed out on life. Love all the festivals but never attended one yet. Would this year be any different?
Fast forward to Canada Day weekend. I'd just turned away my 31st request for a room. She actually told me I should turn off my phone if I don't have any availability. "But I still have friends to talk to." Turning off my phone; that doesn't sound like me. I suggested she try Airbnb but she had difficulty with it so I taught yet another person how to access it a different way and now she could, and that's a huge could, find something in an outlying area. Imagine me letting a phone just ring thru to the answering machine when this Abuela has so much to teach. :)
Over the past weeks, I mused about whether this Canada Day
would mimic all the others when I host rooms and never leave the house as I look wistfully outside at the weekend of rain and thunder and people socializing. Bed and Breakfast owners rarely get away when fun stuff is happening. Petrie Island would be a hot spot and so close but alas perhaps another year of hermitdom and servitude. Sigh.
Well folks, this year was different, I have to tell you and it doesn't get any weirder than this year. I actually participated in life. My full house booking arrived to leave shortly after to see family and there I was wandering the empty house... all dressed up with nowhere to go and no one to talk to. My friends know better than to suggest I join their plans because the answer for the last three years has always been, "I can't, Have to work." This year I committed, come hell or high water, to seeing the fireworks at Petrie Island even if I had to go alone. Thank gawd for Meetup.com and the group that was meeting up there. I also, was invited to dinner on Canada Day. Ya, I know it was a pity invite but it was fun. When I told them I had to rush out right after dessert had been eaten, my punishment was to watch the black thunderboomer clouds circle over my car and open up the torrential rains. Nevertheless, I was going no matter whether I had to come in on an arc with Noah steering.
Caught one of the last buses there and navigated around in one of the swampiest mud parties I have ever seen and had a blast. I was in mud splash up to my knees and my feet were submerged. I get why so many people just went bare foot. My friend even got a VIP tent for the few foolhardy adventurers who braved the yucky weather. The fireworks actually went off even tho the thunder and lightening started 5 minutes before takeoff. Bloody awful timing and by 11:30, I was heading home.
A month earlier, another neighbour asked me if I would allow his wife to come to my place as a pre-planning party before he would surprise her in the park with a Renewal of their vows. Ladies, listen up and if you can cuff your partners upside the head for not being as considerate as this hubbie, all the better. She had her hair done and she came to have her makeup done by makeup artists and then receive a massage, try on her new ensemble for the festivities and head off, blindfolded, to her destination.
It was all a surprise and I got to meet those neighbours and now we're going to have a block party. Woohoo, I'm back in the Neighbourhood Watch business.
A month earlier, another neighbour wrote to tell me, "You don't know me but my kids were pretty bummed when they found out the Easter Bunny did not exist. They are old teenagers now." Hmmm, where was this freak show going? No, I am not dressing up as an Easter bunny! She continued. Every year, since then, she continues the scavenger hunt and would I be open to having a clue left outside at Spoiled Rotten B&B? Absolutely!!! She was barking up the right tree for sure since I used to do it for my girls too. What I didn't know was how high tech it had become. Apps to send your response in to the clue, have it approved and automatically the next clue would appear. Points lost for poor sportsmanship, leaving litter at clue sites... this was waaaaaay beyond my scavenger hunt which bordered on, "the next clue is by the TV". I was also invited to the pre-teenager chaos and warm up games and after celebratory BBQ party with all the teams. This lady is one cool chick and certainly put my efforts to shame. If I ever wanted to do another scavenger hunt, she's the lady I'm calling and she's already started on next year. I hope that she will be managing a scavenger hunt on a huge scale for the city one day.
Ironically, after the afternoon of zen and massages for the renewal lady, she put on her high heels, and hobbled out the front door blindfolded just as a band of crazy teenagers were stomping on my flowers. Initially, I didn't even remember what was going on but they buzzed in and out like well mannered holy terrors and were off. All this was happening while the lady was being escorted into a car by a man she did not recognize because he spoke not a word. What a great adventure and super hero he turned out to be.
Wait I lied to all of you. I had 32 requests for my place. The last was from a desperate couple biking to Quebec and the Airbnb they booked was hair infested...pet hair on EVERYTHING. Did I have anything available? Man, that broke my heart. I had two couples check out that day but because the whole house was rented, and one couple was still there, I didn't feel right double dipping, especially since they had been so gracious to allow me to have the wedding lady get ready all afternoon on their time.
So folks, unlike every other working holiday, I went to supper with Yagu, to the fireworks solo to meet my new friend Tina, participated in an Easter Bunny scavenger hunt with my new friend Kim, actively participated in a wedding preparation with my new friends Doretta and Dina, Mendjaly and makeup artisit, Medjine of www.makeupmh.com and and I shared my place with a wonderful family.
What a weird and wonderful Canada Day. Hope July is just as eventful and exciting.
Don't forget to check out: https://www.ottawatourism.ca and book your rooms or gather your friends and book the whole house soon for a fraction of the cost of a hotel room...and great breakfasts too.
1. Kontinuum from July 15-Sep. You can book your free tickets online now for the sound and light show underground at the metro station. https://www.ottawatourism.ca/events/kontinuum/
2. La Machine- the giant mechanical monsters walking downtown July 27-30th. You'll see the fire breathing dragon and the massive spider. https://www.ottawatourism.ca/events/la-machine/
3. Northern Lites starts on Parliament hill to see the newest show starting July 11th at 10pm. It's amazing to see. https://www.ottawatourism.ca/events/northern-lights-sound-and-light-show/
4. MosaiCanada 150 is now open in Jacques Cartier Park from June to Oct 15th. Think a giant Chia pet park. It's awesome. https://www.ottawatourism.ca/events/mosaicanada-150-gatineau-2017/