Why is it when I travel with friends, it is relatively normal events happen? But every time I travel with family, a gong-show ensues? The day trip to Calgary was no exception. Chaos, hilarity and puke happened in epic formation.
I best explain…
My sister Annie and her daughter Squid, drove my cousin The Travelocity Gnome (TTG), ChatterBox and myself to Calgary for a fantasy filled Saturday complete with a stop over at Tiffany’s to buy myself a ring. TTG posted this on facebook:
– 1.5 hour flight, up @ 6:30am, 3 hour drive, 2 malls, 2 hour search for dinner, 1 road side puke stop near the jail (where just happened to see 2 guys running from the ditch in the dark), all to save $12 PST on items I could have bought 3 blocks from home – but it was a great day with my cousins and their kids.
intriguing isn’t it? Where shall I start? When I travel with non-family members, the trip is lovely and fun. When the entourage is involved we always end up crying. Not because we are sad, but because it seems to bizarre to be true, yet it IS true.
The day starts with no coffee and traveling to Red Deer for the customary pit stop, which means a visit to the Ladies and coffee. For some reason I was talked into have a tea instead of Tim Horton’s Coffee. Mostly because I don’t prefer Timmy’s. I must be the only Canadian out there who is not in dire need of a Double Double. (Not at 230 calories a pop thank you very much!) We pile back in and realized that by stopping, all the people we passed on the way down, must be passed again. No wonder dad never ever stopped to let us go to the bathroom.
By 11:00AM we arrive (unscathed and still friendly to each other) to the hallowed halls of CrossIron Mills. The Shopping Capital of Alberta – that’s right, I said it – Calgary has BETTER shopping venus than Edmonton, however – that is it – that is the ONLY thing they are better at – except for being closer to the mountains but that is just geography and has nothing to do with hockey or football or Universities or parks or Art Galleries or Skylines or Pizza or million other things. We practically run at a full on sprint to get inside. First stop is Coach Factory. I have a list for family I must fulfill and then I make a major impulse buy for FABULOUS red leather gloves. We shop all day, laughing at fashion and try on stripper heels that nearly break our ankles, compare sparkly shoes and walk away bogged down with copious amounts of bags. My purpose for going was to buy boots. Did I? Nope. But I did make my very first visit to the Gap and was pleased to discover I CAN WEAR GAP where I bought a shirt for Chatterbox. THAT was THE highlight until Tiffany’s…
When we exhausted all shops at CrossIronmills we travelled south to Chinook Mall. The BEST non outlet mall in the
universe Calgary. We parked underground in the most technologically advanced parking lot EVER. The lights on the ceiling tell you where there are empty spots! Red is full, Green there is space. I spent more time marvelling at this than was necessary, I took 10 pictures ( remember a time before digital photography? 36 pics and would I waste them on parking lots? I think not) I walked like a girl with a purpose, straight to Tiffany & Co. I made another impulse buy – Tiffany Notes Ring – size 8 – to remind me of all sorts of things to be shared at another blog. Annie was flashing pics of the engagement rings for her fella and for the Universe, tell the Universe her preference. I walked out excited with the pupils dilated while we then shopped for TTG and Squid.
At 4:00PM it was decided that we don’t eat dinner at the mall – no Joey’s for us! Annie use to live in Calgary and declared that SHE knew we could travel Mcleod Trail and find a proper NON Fast food entre for us. FAB! Lead away Sista! We pile in and instantly become frustrated. Calgary is filled with stupid one-way streets with no left turns. Fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiine. We make a million right turns and continue heading north on Mcleod. I was feeling particularly hyper and felt the need to read aloud every single sign and shop I saw. Annie asked me if I ever shut up, I replied with I am only being helpful by listing possible eateries. The only restaurant we saw that we didn’t feel we needed to pack heat was Hooters AND kids eat free! Woohoo! Saturday night in Calgary was lookin’ fiine… We held a vote and by unanimous decision, kept driving. It did lead us down the road of speculation – a rich and honourable tradition in my family. Who takes the wife and kids to Hooters? Do they then travel to the Bass Shop and buy the lifetime supply for cheese doodles for dessert? It was interesting and lead to comments that are not suitable for posting – but funny none the less. As we traveled on Mcleod, the downtown core unfolded before us.
We saw the Calgary tower, Calgary’s largest phallic symbol. We wondered what it was like standing on the observation deck watching other people work at their desks. I don’t know about you, but I’d pay $50 bucks to ride up there and see that! Chatterbox had told the Universe that she wished to see the Calgary Tower. So, the universe led us there via Annie getting lost. We pulled in front and the girls piled out. Chatterbox took pictures of the tower and Squid took pictures of the buildings that were NOT the tower.
I helped out Squid by pointing to the tower…but this made no difference. So we all piled back in with Annie at the helm. She drove and drove while I continued to read every sign and building. We passed actual Hobos – they were sitting by the tracks, we passed an actual hippy love bus – it had flowers and peace signs painted on it, we passed the saddle Dome where we speculated the province would give Calgary arena money and not to Edmonton, and then we drove to places unknown. At this point my sister was frustrated with me and we magically turned into my mom and dad. My head was playing music and singing “lalalalalalalala” and Annie’s head was playing “Oh for crying out loud ET you are a WORST NAVIGATOR EVER!” In my defence, I didn’t think I needed to navigate because ANNIE LIVED IN CALGARY AND BRAGGED ABOUT KNOWING WHERE TO GO! I AM NOT A MIND READER – I am an anticipator and influencer, but in this instance, I TRUSTED HER. It is well documented how hard it is for me NOT to be in control. Did I boss her around? NO! Did I tell her what to do? NO! Did I trust her when she said she knew? YES! To be fair, without ANY HELP from me, other than my sign reading prowess,
we she found our way back to the Deerfoot Trail. Still without food in our bellies. Luckily I am a mom and packed snacks…
Stay tunes for part II Where you will learn how to recognize a Moose and escaped convicts.