Sometimes you just need a few days off. Summer hit, and with our schedules being what they were, we just never got around to booking any out-of-town trips for our week off. And then we realized: we live in an awesome city, have an awesome yard, and really just needed some time to relax. This is what we did.
Friday July 19
The final third of our stay-cation vacation began with a slightly-cloudy Friday… and a much earlier morning than we’ve been used to. Oh yeah… alarm clocks. Forgot about those.
It’s been a few years since I’ve been to a parade in my own city. Sure, I work downtown and sure, every year for the last couple years since that has been the case I usually go “for a walk” for my fifteen minute break, a walk that happens to criss-cross around, above, and along the parade route for a few brief moments. But actually sitting, waiting, watching, and engaging with the parade…
It was Claire’s first. Are we bad parents that it’s taken us nearly six years to bring our kid to the local parade? Well, to be fair she’s seen about half a dozen Disney parades, watched a parade earlier this year on board a cruise ship in the middle of the ocean, and has participated in a few kiddie parades in her short life. So… I don’t think so.
The plan was simple. Get downtown before they closed the roads at 8:30. Find a seat along the route. Wait for Katherine, Aaron and company. And watch the parade.
We arrived –thanks to a couple unexpected road detours– downtown at 8:31, literally watching the cop close the road that led to Karin’s parkade. Claire and I hopped out, wandered off to find seats, while Karin looked for alternate parking.
By quarter-to-nine, an hour and fifteen minutes before the parade was set to start, the street was already packed for five blocks from the start. We lucked out and happened to be walking by a spot that was just that moment being cleared of some road signage (destined for another road closure, no doubt) and nabbed it, throwing down our blanket and setting up a couple lawn chairs.
And then we waited. And waited. And waited. Karin found us. Then –thanks to some more unexpected issues, this time with the LRT– our parade pals arrived with about five minutes to spare. The crowd that had gathered around us was starting to creep, nudging into our space, the little front-row fortification of blanket and empty lawn chairs looking like prime territory on a street now five people deep. But they arrived, filled the gaps, and the parade started.
Two hours later the kids were glowing with energy and draped with parade swag.
Claire and Aaron are almost the same age. Aaron is younger-enough that he’s a year behind her in school, but not so young that the two are almost indistinguishable in maturity.
Aaron just became a big brother a few weeks ago. In other words, his mom needed a rest and he needed a big kid activity. So we left his mom to go back home from downtown and we became a foursome and sped off to K-Days.
The name of our local fair and exposition has a storied history. For a long time it was called Klondike Days. Then a few years ago someone got the bright idea of renaming it because “what the heck does this city have to do with the Klondike, eh?” So, suddenly it was called Capital Ex. As in Capital City Exposition or something, and we were all promised it would grow on us and we’d soon forget about Klondike Days.
But no. The kids who never knew it any other way didn’t care, but some bigger kids did. And whatever, don’t know why or care how, suddenly this year they renamed it again dumping the Capital Ex moniker in favour of another new name, not quite but pretty much exactly the same as the old name: K-Days. As in (don’t call it) Klondike Days.
And just like every other grungy, over-priced, questionably-assembled temporary fair grounds, K-Days was a field of lights and noise and whirling steel contraptions, cluttered with colourful characters hawking unwinnable contests.
I hate to be that guy, but between the food and smell and the lack of both personal space and tasteful clothing I can’t stand these things.
But I’m a dad. And dads take their kids (and their kids’ friends) to the fair and let them ride on every ride they want, chasing them through a crowded asphalt maze and hoping for the best.
Of course after a day like that, all that was really on the evening agenda was some sitting around, trying to re-hydrate, relax, and remind ourselves that these are the moments you’re supposed to cherish.
I sorted some photos, hung out with the attention-starved dog (who is really getting the raw deal on this holiday thing) and caught up on some television.