Monday, November 18, 2002

We had an early start to winter this weekend and it created some interesting twists for us over the past 48 hours.

Friday night, we actually left the office before 5 p.m. and were on the highway before 6 p.m. Although we were travelling in the dark (something I wasn't particularly looking forward to), the weather was great and the roads were clear. We tried to stop in Belleville for dinner but the restaurants near the 401 which we tried were all really busy. Eventually, we ended up in a Swiss Chalet (near Port Hope) and had a really nice meal. We sat in a section where a couple of families with little kids were seated. Ordinarily, I hate sitting near children in restaurants but the little girls who were at the table beside us were very sweet and quiet. Our waitress was also very nice and she gave us these little Casper the Friendly Ghost toys after our meal. Free! I thought that was very nice of her.

By the time we got to the hotel, it was after 9 p.m. and we still had to completely unload the van. The parking lot at the hotel was not secure and we couldn't take a chance on having the van broken into over night, and losing anything we needed for our event. Luckily, the luggage carts weren't in use and the storage room we were using was very close to the lobby. By the time we got checked in and unloaded and parked, it was after 10 p.m. and was pooped. Ordinarily, by 10 p.m., I've been in bed for over an hour.

The next morning, I woke up at the normal time and called Mark to make sure that he was up for work. It was very very cold and windy and the weather report called for snow. We headed over to our venue to start our setup and nearly froze our collective buns off while we loaded the van. I guess our close proximity to the lake was the reason for the super frigid winds. Fortunately, the staff at the venue were totally terrific and helpful. Set up went very smoothly, actually the whole day did. We had time to run back to the hotel, get changed and have a drink before the event started.

The actual night was a lot o fun. Even though I was working, I had a chance to visit with some folks who I hadn't seen in a long time. By the time we left the venue to head back to the hotel (around 2:15 a.m.), the snow was flying and the roads were terrible. The visibility was nill and you couldn't see the lines on the highway. Fortunately, our hotel was just 2 miles down the road from the venue so it didn't take us forever to get back. Mark was at the hotel when I got back. He had driven up after work to have dinner with some friends of ours.

What did take forever however, was our trip back to Kingston. My colleagues were travelling back in the van but I was driving back with Mark. We left the hotel early, intent on getting back shortly after noon. We took the 427 up to the 401 and found breakfast in North York. Our car was running fine, started right away, no problems. We hit the highway after breakfast and a stop for gas and were heading eastbound on the 401, making good time despite the snow and poor-ish road conditions. We were almost to the DVP when our car just died, in the middle of the road. Mark was able to steer us off to the side, under an overpass (the DVP). After an hour on hold, I was able to read CAA and order a tow-truck (we weren't 100% sure but it seemed that our battery was pooched). While on hold with CAA, a nice OPP officer stopped by and told us how to get a tow truck dispatched via the OPP.

So now, we had an OPP and a CAA tow truck coming to rescue us (hopefully). With the storm, there were a large number of accidents, all over the place and we were considered a low priority. We'd been stranded in the car for about 90 minutes a tow truck arrived. yay!!! It hadn't been dispatched by either CAA or OPP, they just happened to be in the lane and stopped. Apparently, they ordinarily travel the collector lanes. Snow plows were in the collectors though so they just happened to be in the express. The spot we stopped at was directly between two Canadian Tire stores so our tow-charge wouldn't be too bad. It turned out that our battery was, indeed pooched, and so was our alternator. By 3:30 p.m., we were back on the road, new battery, new alternator and a little more than an hour of daylight. It was snowing quite heavily in Toronto but by the time we got to Oshawa, it had let up. Eventually, the road dried up and were travelling on dry pavement, making good time.

I was completely pooped by this time. I slept like the dead last night and am still feeling the effects of the weekend. The whole thing went really well I think. The person who was in charge did an excellent job of organizing everything and all the people I spoke with said that they really enjoyed themselves (which is the most important thing!).

Today, I'm back at work, plodding through a backlog of work and watching the snow outside slowly melt. The sun keeps popping out so hopefully it'll be gone before long. We didn't get enough to shovel which is nice. I'm going to try to get some photos of the "winter wonderland" outside. If I get some good ones, I'll post them here later.

Of course, over the weekend, because we were so busy and working so hard, a lot of pizza and fast food was consumed so the "eating better" thing kind of got tossed out the window. I didn't drink much pop though, I stuck mostly to water. My skin is definitely looking better and I'm feeling not too bad despite the pace of the past few days. I think our new "regime" is having positive results so far.

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