Saturday, September 11, 2010

Thunder and lightning...

I finally have wi-fi, and now there's a thunderstorm threatening/happening/threatening again, so I may have to be more succinct than I had planned.

The trip is going much better now that the brakes have been fixed and the left rear outside tire has been fixed for the third time on this trip. Traveling through the Rockies is so much more exciting when the brakes are failing than when everything is working correctly.

We left Burnaby (Vancouver) on Monday morning, the last day of Labour Day weekend. Traffic was no problem, probably because while everybody else was going home to the city, we were leaving. Nonetheless, there were logistical problems. One of our party had to stay behind for a business meeting, so it was after suppertime when we finally all got together at Nk'mip RV Park in Osoyoos. We had dinner together before children and grandchildren headed up to their suite at Spirit Ridge Resort, just up the hill. When we started out again in the morning, it felt as if we had barely stopped at all.

The grandchildren took to Turtle travel with great enthusiasm. I was delighted. They seldom fussed at all. Instead, I got to drive happily along, listening to their chattering and giggling. At one point I heard their mom singing "99 bottles of milk on the wall", which set me to giggling.

The grandchildren's favourite spot was my over-the-cab boudoir. As long as they managed not to hit their heads on the ceiling, they had themselves a perfect hiding place, complete with a curtain they could pull across the front. Whenever I wanted to sleep, I had to make a space for myself among the toy cars and colouring books. It was great.

When we finally arrived at Fairmont Hot Springs  (I'll skip over the drama -- suffice it to say that we arrived safely) the kids released some of their energy on the jungle gym while the rest of us admired the wildlife that had come to join the party. It wasn't until the following morning that we hit the pools. In the course of our visit, Jujube (that's our four-year-old granddaughter) became the star of Fairmont Hot Springs. Jujube seems to be part seal, and everyone who saw her swim (she swims underwater for long distances, coming up for air and then ducking right down again -- and she is completely fearless) --  everyone who saw her was amazed.

Then there was Jumping Jack, who is two and a half years old. He can't swim, you see -- but he greatly admires his sister, and anything she does, he wants to do, too. The upshot of that is that when Jujube goes swimming, J-J gets excited, leaps off the side of the pool or out of the arms of whoever is holding him, goes head-first into the water, and sinks like a stone. Whoever is trying to care for him then has to reach into the water and haul him out. He emerges grinning, wiping the water from his eyes, and squirming for a chance to do it all over again. He simply will not believe that he can't swim. It's a joy to behold, really it is, all that fearlessness and joie de vivre, but it's also terrifying. I'll be glad when he does learn to swim. He will be a force to be reckoned with.

It was all over too soon, the mini-holiday with the grandbabies. Yesterday, we headed off in our opposite directions. I got a text this evening saying that they had arrived safely at home. Meanwhile, Robin and I spent a night in Sparwood, B.C. at Mountain Shadows, a very simple and quiet campground -- they did provide firewood, in case we wanted to make a campfire and toast marshmallows or something, but what with the pouring rain, we opted for rummy at our kitchen table. Afterward, I listened to a Norah Jones cd (with earphones, not to break the silence) and knitted.  I was thinking about my children's grandmother, who knitted and knitted when she was younger, but now can no longer do it, because her eyes are failing her. I'm teaching myself to knit with my eyes closed, to put off the day when I'm deprived of that simple pleasure, the click of needles and the feeling of wool moving across my fingers. I closed my eyes, knitted, listened to the music, thought about Mom, and squeezed back tears.

Today, we drove right across Alberta (eight hours) to Swift Current, Saskatchewan, and we've settled for the night at Trail Campground. Tomorrow, we have a four-hour drive to a birthday party in deepest Saskatchewan.

Meanwhile, I'll go back to my knitting.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for the call last night. Hearing your voice helped!
Great seeing the pictures of your grands. They've grown so quickly. Funny both our grand daughters have the same nick name. Hope you had a good sleep in the storm. Hmm, update me on your eyes next chat please. I loved the video. Yes it was made with you in mind (look at what you've knit in a month). Hug our Erin for me and can hardly wait to see her in your love gift. Hugs! Sis

AngelMay said...

EEK! Brakes failing??? In the mountains??? That's just too scary for words. And what was up with that tire? Sandra - you are scaring me!

SO glad to hear that all is finally going well and that you are enjoying yourself. But a solid 8-hour drive would have left us far behind if we had been caravaning. I just get way too tired. Four or five hours on the road - moving forward - is all I can stand. Then I want to park, walk around, play games, eat salads... and stuff. :)

Sandra Leigh said...

I have a sister called Anonymous. Who knew? Yes, photos will follow.

AM - Believe me, an eight-hour driving day isn't my cup of tea, either -- but this trip is filled with deadlines, so that won't be the last of the marathon drives. Brakes and tire all better now. Not to worry.

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