Capital Idea

House of Parliament

So another year has come and gone, and once again it was time to drive to Ottawa, to visit the grandson and fiancé for a couple of days – a Capital idea.

We hitched up the team, and loaded the buckboard sport-brute.  Grandma and her minions had made another batch of dill pickles.  There were his and hers presents for birthdays that bracket my recent one.  Included were a home-made spelt-flour, chocolate-mayonnaise cake, and special ginger cookies from a local Dutch market.  His always-thinking-ahead mother had even sent Christmas presents, since they won’t be able to get away then.

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Biggest and heaviest among the freight, was a large steel cage for a recently-acquired, white (but not albino) ferret. She is so friendly and playful!!  I took along the digital camera, but the only photos I took were the ferret ones above.  I used it to prove that I had finally mounted on the wall, the rapier that he gave me for Fathers’ Day, two years ago, because I haven’t got around to publishing the Procrastination post yet.  You guys will have to wait another week or two to see that shot.

All in all, a very interesting and satisfying trip. Food of all types, including a Mexican restaurant named ‘Ahora’, where the nachos came with a language lesson.  The word ahora (Spanish a = in/at/to – hora = time) means Now, in English.

We visited two knife shops, and two second-hand bookstores which reminded me of Charles Dickens ‘Old Curiosity Shop’, stuff piled upon stuff in no great amount of order. We went to the Byward Market, a 4-block-square area, right downtown, full of kitschy little shops, eager to separate visitors from their money before the Government got it as taxes.

Just outside, between the Market area and the Houses of Parliament, stands the American Embassy, as big as a Trump hotel, but with all the architectural flair of a shoebox. Just half a block inside the Market, a mere drunken stagger back to the Embassy, is a ‘Gentlemen’s Club.’  Coincidence??  I think not!  Around the corner was a big century-house, turned into another Embassy, not Russian, but with a sign in Cyrillic lettering – Ukraine?  Uzbekistan?  Perhaps the English sign was on another street.

We went back at night to see the Parliament Building all lit up. No-one was passing any stupid legislation, but we saw where they had installed vents to release all the hot air.

I chose a different motel than last year, this one a mile closer to the grandson’s apartment, and $90/night, instead of $130, enabling us to afford to stay two nights instead of one. It was a family-owned independent, and like the Mexican restaurant, came with a lesson, this one a history lesson, rather than language.

Always curious, and looking for blog-fodder, I approached the day-shift male room-clerk. He reminded me of the wife’s ex-doctor. He could throw a pill or a potion or a medical test at a problem, but couldn’t deal with patients.  I believe that the clerk was on the autism spectrum.  He was happy to supply an extra pillow, or an ice-bucket, but not conversation and trivia.  “Qantas. Definitely Qantas.”

I asked, “How old is this place?”
“I don’t know.  I wasn’t here when it was built.”
“Neither was I, but I’m curious.  Have you never asked?”
“It wasn’t on my job application.  I have a customer.  You’ll have to leave.”
“He’s still getting out of his car.  He won’t be here for 5 minutes.  When does the night-shift come on?”
“I have a customer!  Please leave!”

I returned later to talk to the night-clerk, who was both sociable and knowledgeable.

It all started with a mineral hot-spring. The Indians used to soak in it, and believed in its healing properties.  They told the white men, who also used it, and appropriated it.  Around 1900, a white businessman erected a building around it, and turned it into a spa where monied and powerful people came, ‘to take the waters.’

It was quite a way out in the country from little then-Ottawa. In 1928 another businessman built a restaurant nearby, so that the elite had a place to dine after their treatments.  In 1931, when cars were still balky and unreliable, he built a couple of cabins where folks could stay overnight, before returning home in the morning.  Later, he added a couple more, and then another couple.

In 1932 he joined them together into one of the first row motels. In 1956 he added a second, matching row, and in 1973, his son added a third, two-story structure which we stayed in, for a total of 80 units.  The restaurant is still there, although now it’s leased out to chefs whose pretentious menu includes $15 hamburgers and poutine made with French fries cooked in duck fat.

The Federal Government is responsible for the well-being of Indigenous Peoples. Some are brought to Ottawa for medical treatment.  This now includes tests, drugs, surgery and physiotherapy, but many of them still believe in the healing powers of the Manitou’s hot springs.  When we were there, there were 16 units housing Cree and Inuit from as far away as Nunavut, in the Northwest Territories.

Even including an hour each way in the worst traffic in Canada, in Toronto, it was well worth the trip, which totalled 1200 Km/825 Mi. over three days. The grandson who does not own a car, and his magic smart-phone, skillfully guided us around the town.  I’m sure we’ll go again next fall, if not before.

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Getting The Cold Shoulder

ice

Once upon a long time ago, I overcame my failure to launch, got a job, and moved to a city a hundred miles from home. During the middle of February, a nasty cold snap moved in.  One Friday night, my friend and I went to an early movie.  The place was not crowded.

Afterwards, we went up the street to our favorite restaurant. Besides the proprietor, there were only four of us on that chilly night, the friend and I, and two young ladies.  At least that’s what they told us they were, when we went over to introduce ourselves.

After about an hour, they asked if we would walk them home. ‘Why shor!’ As we left the restaurant, I glanced at the big Coca-Cola thermometer, hanging on the outside wall.  It read -18° F, about -28 of these newfangled Metricated degrees.  The walk home involved only that, not even any hand-holding, although it’s hard to hold hands with snowmobile gloves on.  Snowmobiles might have been invented by then, but snowmobile gloves sure hadn’t.

After leaving the girls, we headed back to the restaurant to warm up again before going on home. I looked at the thermometer again as we stepped in.  It had fallen to -23° F, or -30° C, in the hour we’d been gone.  As we sat cuddling our hot chocolates, my pal said, “Do you know your ears are white?”  Like the joker I am, I said, “No, but if you’ll hum a few bars, I’ll try to sing along.”

“No, no! Your ears look frozen!”  I reached up and found something that felt like Michelangelo had carved from marble.  I wrapped my hands around the mug, and transferred warmth to my ears.  I couldn’t feel a thing.  Within 15 minutes I could feel them again, and was sorry I could.  They stung for hours.

The next day I went to a Men’s Wear store, explained what had happened, and asked if they had a solution. The salesman provided a bright-white as-the-snow, 100% wool, skiers’ ear band, which I wore faithfully.  I later found that, while I had not lost the ears to frostbite, the tiny blood vessels had been damaged.  Now if a cool September breeze stirs the leaves on the Maples, the ears don’t like it.

I left the job, moved back home for a summer, moved out again, went back to school for retraining, got a girlfriend, got a fiancé, got married, and wore that headband every winter. My WIFE looked at the now grey-brown abomination on my head, and said, “That thing’s gotta be washed!”

Most of the wife’s family is allergic to wool. Thank the Catholic God and Monsanto for Nylon, Rayon, Orlon, Banlon, Dacron, and Polyester.  She washed it in nice hot water, and dried it in a nice hot dryer, and I got back a nice, paper-white wrist band.  Oops!

We easily replaced it at K-Mart, before they went extinct, but she always felt badly about destroying the original. Some years later, when her knitting skills had improved to the point that she was arguing with knitting patterns and TV knitting show hostesses, she asked if I would like her to custom-design and make me a replacement, this time in a washable wool/polyester blend.  See above, “Why shor!”

head-band

She started with a tube, a basic sock. Then she steadily increased stitches on one side, while adding a simple pattern.  After achieving a desired length, she stopped the pattern, and reduced stitches till both ends were equal.  Now she carefully sewed the ends together, and I have a double-thickness ear protector.  The protruding edge goes down the nape of the neck, to fend off cold breezes and falling snow.

After letting me be the guinea pig, the son decided that he’d like one also. A neighbor kid, watching me shovel snow with it on one day, asked how I got my hair to grow up through my hat.

I once sliced into an old tennis ball, and pushed it down over the ball of my trailer hitch, to protect it from rusting. This was the same kid who asked me how I got the ball to balance there.  I think he’s got all the way up to manager at his McDonalds location.   😯

I Am A Challenge Too….Two

challenge

Now then, what was I saying writing, when I so rudely interrupted myself??  Ah yes, the 31-Day Challenge Magic Act, where I sawed a woman blog in half.

Why and when did you start blogging? My first post went out on November 21, 2011.  As to why, read my ‘About’ page, which includes the text to the post ‘If’.  Anything that doesn’t include, feel free to ask.

Advice on your area of expertise Since I am now successfully retired, my advice consists of, “Sleep in, have a snack, take a nap.  Rinse, and repeat if necessary.  Wage slaves, apply only on weekends.”

List 5 blogs you read on a regular basis, and why Many of the blogs I used to read ‘regularly’, are now dormant, or episodic.  One that I read regularly is Cordelia’s Mom because, as her tagline says, it’s ‘just good reading’.  Another we perhaps should all read regularly, is You’ve Been Hooked, tales from a bellman at a ritzy hotel in Niagara Falls.  (Caution, Humorous Adult Content)

What do you collect? Bills(notes/money – not utility), coins, knives, books, aches, pains, medical specialists, prescription drugs

What’s your greatest fear? I like to think that I keep my life well-ordered enough, that I don’t put me or mine in any position where I need fear anything.  I have no …phobias.  Fear/worry are counterproductive.  Either stay away from that which causes fear, or learn to face and defeat it.

Provide 5 easy steps to anything From my living-room chair, to the kitchen fridge/snack.  One….two….three….four….five – a pickled egg and some cheddar.  That was easy.

What do you do to save money? Not spend it.  While there are many who have less than us, I am/was a child of poverty.  Raised by a Depression-trained Scottish mother, I learned early to make a buck go a long way.  Once, while on an extended period of unemployment benefits, the Government office sent me home with a booklet on how to get the most from the least.  [Put soap bar ends in a mesh bag, and use it like a puff for hand and face washing, or soak and swish it in hot dishwater to produce suds.]  I took it back with 5 or 6 suggestions that they hadn’t thought of.

Describe your most embarrassing moment Like ‘fear’ above; I am careful/lucky enough, not to place myself in embarrassing situations.  Mostly, I just don’t give a shit – almost impossible to embarrass.  I could be a nudist.  I don’t wear clothing for my own modesty, but to protect the eyes and sanity of those around me.

Describe your city Germanic, and organic.  The entire area was settled 200+ years ago by Pennsylvania Dutch immigrants.  Waterloo, our twin-city to the north, has flowed to join my Kitchener, renamed a century ago from Berlin.  To our south, the small cities of Preston, Hespeler and Galt were merged in 1973, into Cambridge.  We have continued to flow together to produce a city of half a million, 5 miles wide, by 20 miles long, straddling Ontario’s major highway.  Streets and roads run hither and yon, confusing tourists, as told in my ‘You Can’t Get There From Here’ post.

What’s your favorite restaurant? With a Cordon Bleu chef/wife on staff, and wallets full of moths, we eat very well at home.  The occasional treat meal out is limited to the Golden Arches and its cousins.  Like the ‘favorite recipe’ in part 1, my love of Tex-Mex is so well known that, “What is your favorite restaurant?/Taco Bell” is a security question/answer on a website.

What’s your guilty pleasure show? With satellite TV costs soaring, we cancelled our subscription a year ago.  We moved the television from the basement den up to the living room, and linked to Netflix.  TV watching might be 2 hours a week.  It has led to a large increase in reading.

What’s your favorite season? As I wrote in ‘Location, location, location’, we live in a Goldilocks area.  It gets warm, but not too hot in the summer.  It gets cold, but not too frigid and snowy in the winter.  I wouldn’t want to live in Winnipeg or Atlanta.  Spring is great, with its burgeoning greenery and promise of rebirth, but, my birthday is in the autumn, and I love the harvested crops, and the colorful foliage.

Talk about your idea of a prefect date Wellll….it would have to be one that the wife is unaware of.  More and more, I get ones with people with MD after their name.

How do you normally spend your weekend? Ah, the joys of being retired.  If it weren’t for reading newspapers, I wouldn’t know what day it is – or month.  Weekends differ from weekdays in that, instead of going out to pick up a Toronto Sun newspaper, I might drive the wife to the Farmers’ Market, or the daughter to a Pow-Wow for fun and profit.

Explain what you liked most about this challenge It’s finished!  It gave me yet another chance to drop some (more) smart-ass comments that you’re still shaking your head about, and wondering if they’re really true.  And of course, it helps my stat numbers of published posts.

Thanx for visiting Crazyville Archon’s Den.  I hope to see you again in a couple of days.

Giving The Runaround

Ferris Wheel

A husband and wife were visiting the fairgrounds together one afternoon. The wife wanted to go on the Ferris wheel, but her husband was too afraid, so she went on the ride by herself.

The wheel went round and round until suddenly the wife was thrown out and landed in a heap on the ground.

Her husband raced over and asked, “Are you hurt?”

“Of course, I’m hurt!” she replied. “Three times around, and you didn’t wave once!”

*********************

A man walks into a fish-and-chips shop with a fish under his arm and asks, “Do you have any fish cakes?”

“Of course,” says the shop owner.

“Great,” replies the man, gesturing at the fish he’s carrying. “It’s this guy’s birthday.”

*********************

Recently, while my mother and I were having lunch at a roadside restaurant, a child at a nearby table let out a few loud shrieks. As one of five daughters born within a six-year period, I asked my mom, “How did you ever manage with all of us?”

Without hesitation, she replied, “I was the one doing the screaming.”

***

Back Up My Hard Drive?
How do I Put it in Reverse?

***

There are 3 kinds of people: those who can
count & those who can’t.

***

I’d give my right arm to be ambidextrous.

***

An old geezer and his wife are out driving, when
a police officer pulls him over. “What seems to
be the trouble young man?” asks the geezer.

“Excuse me sir,” says the officer, “but didn’t
you notice that your wife fell out of the car
back there?”

“Why, naw, I didn’t son, thanks for telling me.
I just thought I went deaf.”

***

Why are sports cars like hemorrhoids?
Most assholes get them sooner or later.

***

Q: What did Tennessee?
A: The same thing Arkansas!

***

Indians discovered Columbus.

***

Why is it that when we talk to God we call it praying,
but when God talks to us we are schizophrenic?

***

When God was creating the human race, he lined
up all the males on one side and all the females
opposite them.

Then God asked, “Which of your species would like
to urinate standing up?”

Well, the males went crazy, screaming and
shouting that they wanted to pee standing up.

“Fine,” replied God. “Then THEY get the multiple
orgasms.”

😆

Flash Fiction #102

Lamb

PHOTO PROMPT © Sandra Crook

BE A LAMB

I can hardly wait to try that new restaurant, Shear Heaven, the one that specializes in lamb. I love lamb, lamb chops, lamb cutlets, lamb stew.  I’m confused though; why would the country’s greatest vegan chef open a lamb restaurant?

It’s called aversion therapy.

What??!

Have you ever been to a seafood restaurant where they let you pick your own lobster? It’s the same here.  If you can look at little Bambi….

Bambi was a deer.

Fine! If you can look at little Baa-baa, and still say, “I want that leg of lamb….??”  Everybody ends up ordering curried chick peas.

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

 

Bottle Babies

Genie

Two guys in a life raft in the middle of
the ocean.

One sees an old bottle floating. He picks
it up and rubs it, and a genie comes out.

The genie says, “For letting me out, I will
grant you one wish.”

The guy says, (without thinking) “Turn this
ocean into beer”. And the ocean turns into
the best beer anybody has ever tasted.

The second guy says to the first, “You idiot,
now we’ll have to piss in the boat”.

***

Two old men sit on a bench in a park when one of
them asks the other:
“How many times can you have sex”?
“Not more than twice”, replies the other old man.
A few minutes of silence, then the first old man asks again:
“Which of the times is the best one then?”
“Hmmmm, I think the one in Spring.” says the other old man.

***

How do you find a blind man in a nudist colony?
It’s not hard.

***

Single women complain that all good men are
married, while all married women complain about
their lousy husbands.

This confirms that there is no such thing as a
good man.

***

A flashlight is a case for holding dead batteries

***

How many men does it take to change a roll of
toilet paper?

We don’t know, it has never happened.

***

A guy from up North (Canada) goes into a
classy bar in the South (States). This
bar has a dress code, and the maître d’
demands he wear a tie.

Discouraged, the guy goes to his car to
sulk when inspiration strikes: He’s got
jumper cables in the trunk! So he wraps
them around his neck, sort of like a
string tie (a bulky string tie to be
sure) and returns to the bar.

The maître d’ is reluctant, but says to
the guy, “Okay, you’re a pretty
resourceful fellow, you can come in…
but just don’t start anything”!

***

Your kid may be an honors student,
but you’re still an idiot!

Flash Fiction #55

Carhenge

PHOTO PROMPT – © Jean L. Hays

NOSY PARKER

I managed to acquire a small commercial lot downtown, near the sports arena, perfect for a deli/restaurant.  I used a small crane to demolish the derelict building on it.

Then the city hall bureaucrats said that my building licence could take a year or more – oh, and your taxes are due.  How can I pay taxes without a business, generating income?

The wife said, “Turn it into a parking lot.”  We can’t park enough cars to make it viable.  “You’ve still got the crane.  Stack them on end; get more in.”

I guess we should have paved the lot first.

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

#476