LEGO has a good thing going. We had to register a month in advance so that Claire could spend fifteen minutes building a little LEGO kangaroo at the free monthly mini-build last night. The place is becoming a bit of an amusement park: they’ve got some passionate staff who are engaged with the kids and draw them into the moment. Of course, it turns us both into loyal customers who will return some day to spend heaps of money on little plastic building blocks, but then that’s the point isn’t it?
School Fundraiser: A day at the @Official_WEM Waterpark. Awesome fun, but very strange swimming with 700 people we kinda know…
This is another post from my “Daddy Daze” series, an anecdotal exploration of my odd little adventures in parenting in bite-sized chunks (for your reading enjoyment) and because the last thing this world needs is yet another doting parent blog.
Another Friday, another day off. My bi-weekly D.O. arrived and — though I seem oddly over-scheduled these weeks — there was not much going on save for some time to spend with Claire. I picked her up from school right before lunch and commenced yet another edition of our still-hanging-in-there daddy days.
Karin was working from home, so when I mentioned I wanted to swing down to grab some burgers she made sure her schedule was clear enough that she could crash the daddy-daughter party.
No worries. The more the merrier, huh?
It’s becoming something of a habit, I admit. I’ve got my own order down to a science now: a bacon cheeseburger with all the basic toppings and a dabble of hot sauce.
Claire’s standard is a hot dog drizzled in ketchup. And she loves the fries, too. In fact she hoards them, pulling a handful from the otherwise communally shared bag and munches away from the little resulting pile atop her napkin.
You’d think someone was paying me to write this, but oddly… no.
We scarfed our meal, wiped our faces, dodged the now-steady rain as we loafed back to the car, and ditched mom back at home. Daddy day had officially begun.
Legos at the Mall
My original plan had been to do something more outdoorsy. I’d been pining for a bike ride. I’d considered taking a big chunk of time to take Claire out into the neighbourhood on her new bike, get her out of her comfort zone of doing loops around the park, and maybe hit up that new frozen yogurt place up the road a little ways. It’s about five klicks each way.
Instead: rain. So, instead, we made a quick pitstop at the library then drove to the mall.
I’m not a mall person. Not much anyways. But I go past Southgate daily on the train. And while usually I’ve got my nose in a book or a game of solitaire on my phone, yesterday I’d happened to look up and notice that the new, not-quite-opened-yet Lego Store was advertising.
They were also doing this thing: a giant Lego mural. Come help build it, the little LED sign that no one looks at proclaimed.
“There’s something going on with Lego at the mall.” I told Claire as we were parking.
She was a little skeptical. What can I say? We wandered around for a bit checking the obvious places, noting that the actual store was not quite opened yet. And eventually we found it.
They give you a little numbered eight-by-eight flat that’s been stamped with the pattern of colours. Then they give you some one-by-bricks and you build the pattern. Claire played her usual shy self, but dug in and built the pants off a trio of teenagers working at the table beside her.
They told us the mural is going to be a permanent fixture in the mall. That will be cool.
Swimming & Coffee
After that the mall got pretty boring. I’ve got nothing to buy, so shopping is… well, meh. So we found the car again and headed to the swimming pool, our old fallback for daddy-day-fun.
There are obviously no pictures, but we spent a good hour in the water. The girl is becoming quite the little fish, recently intrigued by the diving board — at least enough to watch, if not enough to actually try a jump. We have our little routine. Play in the cool pool, maybe do a water slide or two, then a ten minute soak in the hot tub and a quick pass through the steam room before calling it quits.
And by the time we’d found ourselves tired enough and water-logged enough, we dressed and… hey… it was snack time. “Dad… if I was at school, it would be snack time now.” Uh…
I’m not complaining. After an hour of swimming and an hour-long music lesson (sitting there in a windowless room trying to stay awake) on my docket, I seriously needed a caffeine boost to keep me going. So coffee for me… muffin for Claire. And, given the wide selection of healthy muffin choices leave it to a five year old to pick the “Chocolate Explosion” one.
A few years ago I wrote a short post about by quest to locate a box of Twinnings Cranberry Green Tea. At the time, a few months after returning from a ten day visit to London, England, I was quickly running out of a particular flavour of tea I’d taken to drinking in our short time in the country.
Taste is an odd thing, isn’t it? You get to like something, it evokes memory and emotion, and then you form a kind of craving for it. Then a desire. Then an irrational hope of tasting it just one more time.
This tea has been my obsession for a few years now. And I’ve still never located the exact replica. I emailed Twinnings, but they won’t ship food products internationally. Amazon in the states sells it but they won’t ship to Canada. I’m forever look furiously in grocery stores. I check menus. I stick my head into every specialty tea shop I find, hoping for a blend. But nothing. Fruitless.
There is a box with a few bags left on my counter. I used them so sparingly that those left are likely stale. But I have them. I’m not out yet.
So, yeah. Fast-forward to today.
I had a headache at work today. It happens. Long hours in front of a screen, sitting, thinking. So I went for a stroll down the mall (because my office is literally attached to a mall.) And lo-and-behold a new store: a tea store. A tea store that sells hundreds of blends of loose tea!
I went in. I walked directly over to the “greens” section. And there, in a silver tin on the bottom shelf: Cranberry Dream Green.
Not Twinnings, I know. But hope. Hope beyond hope?
I bought 100 grams of loose tea and retreated to my office to boil some water. I steeped. I waited. I poured. I drank, and…
It’s so close. It’s right there. The hints of flavour and evoked memory are lingering at the edge of my brain, grasping for it, feeling for it… It might even be spot on and I just brewed it wrong: too long, too strong, too… ahh!.
But… yeah… the quest continues.