Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I have the coolest cousins

Last weekend I did a huge trip out to my cousin Matt's wedding.

It all started Tues after work, quick drive up to Revelstoke where Mitt's happened to have come down with her dog Duke which was great! We took in the Banff Mountain film fest with her Dad, and decided the next morning that we might as well drive back to Calgary together - as that's where I was catching the same flight my Dad was on back to London Ontario and the only reason I was bringing my car was to get *to* Calgary.

So we had a great drive, visited, stopped in Rogers Pass at the Parks compound and then proceeded to hike the Hermit. Her Dad's description was pretty much bang on... lots of root and then it's so steep you'd fall out of your flip flops. Duke was hilarious he just didn't know what to do with himself there were so many new smells.

We made it up to the sub-alpine, took some pictures which I'll have to heckle her for and then decided to turn around... Duke was all "what are you doing? the trail goes THIS way" but we finally got him turned around and I was very impressed with his trail manners on the way down. He didn't try to run either of us over or off the trail to get in front, and she made him walk behind her the whole way. He was very good about waiting at switchbacks too rather than cut to the inside and trip you up in the process. All in all *two thumbs up*.

The next day we did an 8 - 9 km "walk" and near the end Duke decided he was done. Now most dogs will slow down, or stop... but not Duke, no he just lay down *ffwump* with his head between his front legs and looked up at you all pathetic like. If he could talk I'm sure he'd be saying "Do we have to walk any further?... I'm tired... will you carry me?... please?!?!"

Made it on the plane, got out to London, and being in the "navigator's seat" (which is how Dad refers to anyone in the passenger seat) I got to play with the new GPS. It was very cool. Not so cool was that Dad had set the waypoint 'roughly where he thought it was', and I had a rough auto cad paper map with directions from my Uncle's house. Needless to say being the navigator I was tasked with figuring out where the paper map matched up with the map on the GPS software. Fine.

Basically the highways all have numbers, but they've been moved so many times that the numbers 'appear' to the out-of-towner (me) to be all over the friggen place. So while I did manage to find the town of Thedford on both maps, highway #79 was in such a state that you could turn the paper map upside down and IT STILL LOOKED LIKE THE GPS MAP. Allah damnit! Eventually I figured it, luckily just in time as it turned out as I got the dreaded "Critical battery level" *shit shit shit*... quickly did the "okay we need to turn left onto highway #21 and left onto highway #79 and then we *should* be on the paper map" *fingers crossed*

We made it, everyone thought we were crazy... but in my defence my Uncle's map did not have a legend on it, but if it did North would have been pointing DOWN.

The next morning at an ungodly hour (my time) Dad woke me up to see if I would go running with my look-alike cousin. We decided that we don't actually look alike, we just have very similar mannerisms... it's amazing the things that are genetic ;o) So did a quick out of bed, out for a 20min jog and shook out the stiffness from the previous two days burst in activity. The cutest was my little cousin "Momma can we stop for Spiderman Ice cream please?". "No hunny it's first thing in the morning, maybe after your nap ".

The rest of the day was spent hanging with my cousins, meeting some long lost cousins from Windsor *lol*, and attending the rehersal dinner etc. and I had a blast, everyone was so cute and so much fun and it was just super wicked! One of my favourite quotes from that evening was "MOM! Why didn't you TELL me that Sam and I would get along so well!" To which her mom turned to me and said "Hey Sam, I think you'll get along *really* well with my daughter!" *smiles*.

We finished off the evening down the beach with a bonfire and a guitar and singing. My best description of my family is that 'what we lack in skill we make up for in volume'. At one point I commented on not being able to sing very well, and my cousin turned to me and said "Oh I wouldn't worry, I think it's genetic". Yes. Yes I think you must be right.

The day of the wedding started off with a HUGE walk down the beach. Knowing now what I do we could have skipped that walk. My one cousin and I ended up relocating cars to another parking area and walking back... including the car that had some of the boys' tuxes in them *oops*.

The ceremony was beautiful, the flower girl stole the show and the rain held off... and the wind was strangely absent. Now when I say the rain held off, I'd like to clarify that there was a light mist throughout that gave the day an ethereal kind of feel. The hushed atmosphere was punctuated occasionally by my littlest cousin cooing to himself followed by baby giggles, he was having a great time!

I think that the cutest though was little Em, throwing flowers at the start of the 'carpet' and then being done for the time being... then after the couple was pronounced husband and wife and just before they were about to walk out as newly weds... Em decided it was time to do her thing, and preceded them down the isle throwing petals and just looking like the cutest little angel.

We proceeded to dance the evening away, interrupted only by tables getting up to sing a song containing the word 'love' in it to prompt the newly weds to kiss. I think their plan to not have to kiss much backfired, as they didn't take into account that our side of the family, and obviously the other side had no problem getting up and making fools of ourselves... especially when if your song sucked you had to do tequila shots. We were all shocked though when they thought our song was really good? Lay all your love on me ~ ABBA from the recently released Mamma Mia

My mid evening funny was when my Aunt, the mother of the groom says to me "You look really ready to party!" and I replied "I am really ready to party", glanced at my watch... double checked it as my time and went "Of course I'm ready to party, it's only 7:00 my time!"

So my Dad who isn't usually much of a dancer, he's usually the guy who sits and watches amused by the rest of us making fools of ourselves got dragged onto the dance floor by one of the new relatives... Apparently her boyfriend thought Dad was trying to cut in, so Dad looked him in the eye and offered to "Deck him"... whoooo boy I almost died I was laughing so hard, poor kid Dad isn't very tall but as he said "he's solid and I don't imagine he expected an old fart like myself go on the offensive". The best part though, was Dad more or less didn't get off the dance floor after that, we danced solidly until 3am when the last bus left and the DJ shut down!

I was impressed with a self admittedly small town girl who copped a squat in the bush on the side of the driveway in her dress and pretty shoes. I mean if I were a guy that would be hot! No having to worry about taking this girl anywhere, she's versatile and adaptable to any situation.

After wishing everyone well we returned to the cottages (because they don't have cabins in London, they are cottages) there were a couple of us die-hards, who grabbed a couple beverages and sat around the campfire until the wee hours. Steph, Chris, my Dad and myself regaled each other with stories from other fun times. There really is nothing quite as magical as sitting around a campfire, there's just something special about it and the time that is shared with those around it.

The next morning sucked but we survived, it wasn't nearly as bad as it should have been, my biggest complaint being that my feet were a little tender. I think between my bare feet and the sand on the dance floor == sandpaper, I literally danced part of my footprints off!

I returned to Calgary tired, rejuvenated and partied out for the time being... hit up a local coffee shop with Mitts and then caught the Greyhound arriving at 11:40pm in 'Stoke. I slept the entire way, waking up briefly at each stop only long enough to check and make sure it wasn't my stop. The trip is so much faster when you do it that way! I was lucky to end up with an empty seat for the first few stops, only sharing with a seemingly nice girl later on... I really hope I didn't snore or drool on her, and that I didn't totally scare the crap out of her when I twitched involuntarily while falling asleep.

The next morning was an early one, and I was pleasantly surprised that being at work on Monday didn't totally kick my butt at 3 in the afternoon. Apparently sleeping does help with that ;o)