Sunday, December 28, 2003

the road to Ottawa

I love road trips. I particularly love them when the roads aren't too bad. On Christmas day, my brother mentioned to Mark that he had obtained some extra computer parts through a work contact. Pat didn't have a use for them but thought that Mark might be able to. Pat dropped us a line on Saturday to say that he would pop them into the post for us. Given that the weather has been positively balmy lately, I called and told him that we'd just pop up and get them on Sunday.

The drive up was so nice. Almost no transports of Quebecois on the road. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not one of those big anti-Quebec type of Ontarians. I have friends and family who live in Quebec, mostly in Montreal. We have actually enjoyed some of the visits we have made to Quebec but I tell ya, the majority of Quebecois who drive on Ontario highways are a hazard to themselves and everyone around them. I mean, it's just down-right scary watching them weave in and out of traffic on the 401.

When we left Kingston, it was quite mild and you could tell by the way that everything was sort of moist, that there had been a very heavy fog through the night. It was sunny and clear though so we took off shortly after 8 a.m. The closer we got to Ottawa, the foggier it got. You could tell by the way that the trees and buildings were covered in frost that the fog had just burned off in some areas. Ottawa being in a valley though, it was totally foggy overcast. While we were traveling North on the 416 (from the 401, into Ottawa), we saw a deer. Well, I noticed but didn't shout out to Mark, he saw it too. It was jumping into our lane of traffic and (thankfully), we didn't hit it. Hitting a deer on the highway is one of my worst fears. I have heard so many stories about folks hitting deer, the deer coming through the windshield, hooves flailing. Getting decapitated by a deer is not the way I'd like to die. Thank you very much. All that aside, we got into to Ottawa in record time.

Pat lives in a super cool apartment right downtown. From the outside, it looks like a pretty shitty old house. It is located next a parking lot and across the street from one of those big ass apartment buildings. You'd never think that it's actually really nice inside and that's advantageous in terms of folks not bothering to break in and stuff. He had done a really nice job on the apartment. He's picked up a lot of very cool music posters and had a lot of photos up on the walls. Since we were last there he's obtained a new sofa and a really funky arm chair. It's super cozy and as I said before, super cool. On the way to his place, you have to drive right by the IKEA store in Nepean. The Nepean IKEA is the closest one to us so we usually go whenever we're in Ottawa. I noticed that the parking lot was not insanely crazy full when we drove by (at 10 a.m.) so we decided to go. Pat came with us too, which was fun.

The only things I actually intended to pick up were candles (they have crazy-cheap, unscented candles in all shapes and sizes at IKEA so I like to stock up when we're there) but, of course, we got more than just candles. Mark and I found really funky lamps for the bedroom. I've been wanting to get matching lamps for our bedside tables. We painted our room in June and are still in the process of putting it back together. The lamps we got are called Grono and I really like them. They are cool and simple and they throw a lot of light. Mark also got 2 lamps for his computer work bench, a blue Morker and a small clip on lamp that was really cheap. As it usually happens, the light bulbs for the lamps cost almost as much as the lamps themselves but we stocked up anyway. We're such suckers!!

We also started looking at coffee tables and bedside tables. At the moment, we're using an old trunk for a coffee table in our living room. We bought some really nice living room furniture in June (a sofa and chair) but still haven't gotten around to getting a coffee table for it. As we hadn't measured, we didn't bother getting anything...Same deal with the bedroom. We bought 2 dressers from IKEA about 18 months ago. I really wanted to get the bedside units to match them but they don't seem to be carrying that line anymore. Typical...and not entirely surprising. The hardware for the drawers sucks ass and we're in the midst of having to repair the dressers as they didn't' survive being moved across the room when we painted. We have these old crappy (but functional) bedside tables that have been handed down from one of Mark's relatives but we really want to replace them. We did find something that was close to what we wanted but we weren't sure about the size. They looked way taller than what we needed and I didn't really feel like getting bruises on my hands and arms in the middle of the night from them when I'm reaching for my glasses or a drink of water.

Pat got lucky though, he got a pair of really cool end tables for his apartment for $30.....not each but for the pair, score huh? After we shopped, we ran him home and tried to take him out for lunch. He wouldn't come with us though, try as I might to bully him into it. We ended up having excellent dim sum at a place that came highly recommended by Pat's fabulous girlfriend Rebecca. She has excellent taste in men, and in was a lovely meal. While Kingston, as a city, has a lot of things to offer, good dim sum is not one of them.

After lunch, we headed for home and were lucky to be traveling the whole trip in daylight. I'm glad to be home actually, all that running around is tiring. It was great to see Pat though and now, Mark may have enough parts between what Pat gave him, and what we have around here, to put together a new machine for my parents. They have my old 486 and they aren't online. My mum is taking a computer course right now though and learning about internet stuff and XP so we'd like them to have a better machine and to get online. We'll drag them into the 20th, errr...21st century eventually, come hell or high water!!

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